Alexander Zahlten's message
Three very distinct visions are expressed in the films of this selection, and all of them concern themselves with the convulsions of youth and the resulting aftermath. All are ruthlessly stylish and go to aesthetic limits, if with very different intentions and sensibilities. Yet at the same time these masterworks - spanning 46 years - also provide a panoramic view of the deep transformations of the social and film-industrial contexts they were made in.


Alexander Zahlten selection:

Punishment Room 処刑の部屋
Katsumi is a young man in constant uproar. At University, at home, and with his friends, he is usually angry, always confrontational, and increasingly violent. When his transgressions become hard to stomach even for his hedonistic friends, Katsumi finds himself caught up in his own trail of abuse. Considering director Ichikawa’s penchant for controlling all aspects of a film, it seems ironic that he would be involved with a project whose protagonist is leading a frenzied vendetta against social control. The equally surprising non-judgemental approach towards Katsumi’s unfolding violence led to public protests when the film was originally released. (Alexander Zahlten)


Crazy Thunder Road 狂い咲きサンダーロード
When the biker gang Maboroshi decides to tone down it’s activities to become more “likeable,” Jin goes into revolt. Splitting off, he starts a gang war that brings him into conflict with right-wingers, the police and his former comrades. Surrounded by enemies, Jin rushes in head-on. Explosive is an understatement in describing Ishii Sogo’s (since recently: Ishii Gakuryu) aesthetics in this high-octane tale of no-compromise rebellion. It is hard to think of other examples in world cinema that take the audience on such a visually astounding and musically overwhelming full-throttle ride. (Alexander Zahlten)


No One's Ark ばかのハコ船
Daisuke and his girlfriend Hisako return to their claustrophically boring home town after a business fiasco in the big city. Not ready to give up yet, they continue trying to peddle the obnoxiously smelling health drink “Akajiru,” but their strained persistence becomes increasingly bogged down as small-town complications catch up with them. A biting masterpiece by Yamashita Nobuhiro, the film’s pitch-black humor provides a terrifying but entrancingly absurdist study of unsustainable hopes being slowly sucked away by all-too trivial complications. (Alexander Zahlten)