In the first two weeks of October, the New York Film Festival will honor Japan’s Nikkatsu Studio’s centennial. Pink films like “the Woman with Red Hair” will be playing on the silver screen.
Founded in 1912, Nikkatsu is Japan’s oldest major studio. To survive over the last hundred years, Nikkatsu has had to re-imagine itself several times. In 1941, Nikkatsu was forced to give up production but thrived as an exhibitor. In 1954 when Nikkatsu began production again it attracted talented Assistant Directors such as Shohei Imamura and Seijun Suzuki with the promise of career advancement. In the 60′s Nikkatsu shifted focus from popular period films and samurai films to urban youth dramas. Then again in the 70′s Nikkatsu was forced to shift focus again.
With the rising popularity of television, in the 70′s Nikkatsu centered its production around Pink Films, which were a low-risk-high-return business at the time. Nikkatsu attracted talented directors to the genre with the promise of freedom of expression. One example is Yojiro Takita, director of the Academy Award winning Departures (2008). While with Nikkatsu, Takita directed such pink films as Groper Train: Search for the Black Pearl (1984) and Sexy Timetrip Ninjas (1984).
From September 30th to October 16th NYFF will feature 38 films from Nikkatsu Studio across all genres. For more information and tickets check out the NYFF website.