Sunday, May 26, 2013

Revenge of the Pearl Queen (1956)

WHO:  Michiko Maeda stars in this.

WHAT: I haven't seen this before, but it was based on the same true story that inspired Josef Von Sternberg to make what would be his final film, The Saga of Anatahan, in 1953. Revenge of the Pearl Queen was also apparently the first Japanese film to feature female nudity (Maeda's). As Mark Schilling wrote about her in a somewhat longer piece on the film:
Though no actress, Maeda had an upright, ladylike bearing, even when she was fleeing bare-breasted from would-be rapists, that justified the “queen” appellation. And, of course, au naturel, she was a natural.
WHERE/WHEN: 3:30 PM today only at the Yerba Buena Center For the Arts

WHY: Sadly, I haven't yet been able to attend any of the YBCA's Girls! Guns! Ghosts! The Sensational Films of Shintoho series devoted to the so-called AIP of Japan, the Shintoho studio where great films by directors such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Mikio Naruse were produced in the early 1950s, but which in the latter half of that decade became known for less "respectable" fare by genre filmmakers like Nobuo Nakagawa and Teruo Ishii. Revenge of the Pearl Queen is the final film in the YBCA series before the venue turns its attention to newer films: Post Tenebras Lux by Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas, its second annual New Filipino Cinema festival, and Austrian Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy. which takes the venue through the end of June.

If your itch to see Shintoho films on the big screen has not been fully scratched by this series, there is another chance to see a great film made at the studio: my personal favorite of all of Akira Kurosawa's films, the police thriller Stray Dog, screens at the Pacific Film Archive July 13th.

HOW: Digital presentation, the second half of a double bill with Ishii's Yellow Line.

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