Female Prisoner #701 is a thrilling piece of exploitation cinema, as well as a challenging work of visual artistry. But, as great as it is, it merely set the stage for what was to come.
The Pinky Violence films of Norifumi Suzuki represent one extreme of the tendency of Japanese exploitation films of the seventies to combine a very high level of craftsmanship with an unflinching preoccupation with human behavior at its most sleazy and mysteriously perverse.
That it never received a theatrical release in America is a no-brainer; distributors would undoubtedly have hit a mental logjam trying to market a movie that looks on the surface like a family film but plays out like an angst-ridden version of The Aristocats as imagined by Eli Roth.
It looks beautiful, the actors and the characters that they play are incredibly appealing, the action is wonderfully staged and literally non-stop, and the atmosphere is so rich with romance and intrigue that it’s enough to send you into a ninety minute swoon.
Sadhana would get her wish and be remembered as a heroine, even though the most indelible image to be taken away from the film might not be so much one of her heroic exploits as it would be her being whipped while wearing a white mini and go-go boots by a guy who looks like a Village People version of a medieval blacksmith.
There’s just something about the combination of the Western genre’s Spartan, rough-hewn aesthetic with Bollywood’s tendency toward the exuberant and phantasmagorical that I find hard to resist. If you want to join me in this new obsession, Kaala Sona is certainly a good place to start.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I find the Philippines’ Tagalog language pop cinema of the 1960s strikingly similar to Turkish pulp cinema of the same period. The products of both are comparably rough hewn and action oriented and, by necessity of their staggering volume, bear the hallmarks of being churned out at a very brisk pace….
What with my recent cinematic diet consisting mostly of overheated Bollywood masala movies and plagiarism-filled Thai man-in-suit monster sagas, I’ve gotten well past the point where it’s time to mix things up a bit. And what better respite than to watch some attractive French people screwing and languorously declaiming about the futility of it all?…
To judge the film by its shortcomings would be unfair, because the charms that would mitigate them — all of those things that are wonderful about Insee Thong — are less easy to fully appraise.
You’ve perhaps picked up a dvd because its cover bore a picture of, say, Amitabh Bachchan in shades and a bowtie carrying a scope rifle with something blowing up in the background, only to find that the movie contained therein had a couple of underwhelming action set pieces, but was mostly three hours of some guy crying about his mom.
Ultraman was very popular in Thailand, and in 1973 Sompote Saengduenchai approached Tsubaraya Productions with the idea of co-producing a series of films that would team their heroes with figures from Thai folklore and mythology.
As such, it can simply use it’s resemblance to those other films as a terse signifier of those themes (the fetters of family honor, the value of friendship and community, etc.), while it goes briskly about its real business of being a violent and somewhat trashy little potboiler.