"Girls! Guns! Ghosts!" spotlights Japanese cult studio Shintoho
Even more entertaining are the two films in "Girls!" directed by Teruo Ishii: 1958's Flesh Pier and 1960's Yellow Line. Both make great use of back-alley characters, with fedoras and fishnets to spare. Flesh Pier's action is set in Ginza, as an undercover cop who's in love with a burlesque dancer investigates the city's "trade in flesh;" also undercover is a female reporter hoping to get a big scoop on same. (This film contains a fashion-show scene in which nightie-clad models smoke cigarettes on the runway.) Meanwhile, Yellow Line follows a moody hitman (Amachi again) who kidnaps a dancer (a sassy Yoko Mihara) and drags her to Kobe's red-light "Casbah" district, with her newspaper-reporter boyfriend in hot pursuit. (This film contains a hooker named "the Moor," played by a white actress in blackface.)
Not available for preview, but likely as mind-blowing as any and all of the above: Michiyoshi Doi's The Horizon Glitters (1960), described as a "black comedy about a prison break gone wrong;" Toshio Shimura's 1956 Revenge of the Pearl Queen, about a bodacious, ass-kicking female pearl diver played by Michiko Maeda (a.k.a. "the first Japanese actress to appear in a nude scene in a mainstream film" ... this film); and Kyotaro Namiki's Vampire Bride (1960), in which a scarred young dancer transforms into a horrific, hairy beast. If a picture says a thousand words, the widely circulated still from this film positively shrieks them.
"GIRLS! GUNS! GHOSTS! THE SENSATIONAL FILMS OF SHINTOHO"
May 9-26, $8-10
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, SF