In the dying moments of 2008, there's just enough time for this site to offer its third tip o' the hat to Matt Palmer, the curator of the Wild Japan seasons of movies from outside the standard arthouse canon. Mind you, that's not strictly the case with Wild Japan: Sex In Japanese Cinema Of The 60s And 70s, which has just finished a month-long residency at London's BFI Southbank. As the subtitle implies, we're wallowing in the murkier end of the genre pool here: and if we're frank about it, sexual content has never stopped a foreign film from becoming a mainstream arthouse hit. Quite the opposite, in fact.
While the first Wild Japan was Matt Palmer's personal selection of exploitation and genre classics, the second season took its inspiration from Outlaw Masters Of Japanese Film, Chris D's biographical study of some of the mavericks working within the Japanese studio system. The third season is also based around a book: in this case, it's Behind The Pink Curtain, Jasper Sharp's copiously illustrated history of the Japanese sex film. Sharp takes in both the lowbrow and highbrow ends of the market, and the dozen or so films in this season attempt a similar spread.
Inevitably, we couldn't see all of them. Time pressures, particularly in the month leading up to Christmas, meant that there were several films we simply didn't have time for: plus, we needed to factor in The Belated Birthday Girl's reluctance at being dragged along to a succession of porno flicks. In the end, the half dozen films we ended up catching tended to be more traditional arthouse voyeurism than actual hardcore filth.