May 13, 2015
Deviant Desires: Erotic Grotesque Nonsense in Japanese horror films
The interwar years in Japan were a time of rapid modernization and social change. It was also a time of economic hardship and, as the fascists rose to power, increasingly repressive politics. During these difficult times, a popular cultural phenomena flourished. Dubbed by the Japanese media as “ero-guro-nansensu” (or, “erotic-grotesque-nonsense”), this movement rejected the narrow standards of conventional morality insisted upon by the fascists, and instead celebrated the deviant, the bizarre and the ridiculous. The stories of Edogawa Rampo, the first writer of the modern mystery in Japan, were wildly popular during these turbulent years. It is Rampo who best captured the darkly erotic and transgressive spirit of “ero-guro”, and his legacy has lasted until present day Japan.
This lecture will focus on five films, three of which are adaptations of Rampo stories: Horrors of Malformed Men (1969), Teruo Ishii’s gloriously schlocky, psychedelic mashup of Rampo-with-butoh, Blind Beast (1969), Yasuzô Masumura’s lurid tale of sexual obsession and sadomasochism, and Koji Wakamatsu’s strongly anti-nationalist Caterpillar (2010). Other films to be discussed will include Nagisa Oshima’s infamous art film In The Realm of the Senses (1976) — described by film critic Ian Buruma as “perhaps the only intelligent hardcore porno film ever made” — and the seldom seen, and equally controversial, anime film Midori – the Girl in the Freak Show (1992).
May 13, 2015 at 9:15pm
The Royal Cinema, 608 College St, Toronto
Cost: $15 at the door
Lecturer: Jennifer Linton
Jennifer Linton is an interdisciplinary visual artist working with stop-motion animation, drawing, installation and printmaking. She is a part-time instructor teaching in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University (Toronto), and in the Visual & Creative Arts program at Sheridan College in Oakville. Linton has exhibited her art internationally, with shows in the U.S., Italy, and across Canada. Recent screenings of her animated films include the Boston Underground Film Festival, The Female Eye Film Festival (Toronto), and the Video Art & Experimental Film Festival in New York City. Her most recent animation is the very tentacled and “ero-guro”-inspired short film La Petite Mort.