nedjelja, 26. svibnja 2013.

Hisayasu Satô - Survey Map of a Paradise Lost (1988)


Nejezična komunikacija jednako distorzira "poruke" kao i jezična, iako se u početku čini da bi mogla biti "nešto drugo". Opsesije, perverzije i nasilje otkrivaju da jedni drugima zapravo nemamo što prenijeti pa to prikrivamo tzv. "nemogućnošću komunikacije", "otuđenjem" itd.

Hisayasu Sato jedan je od tzv. ‘četiri kralja pinku eige’, autor klasika poput ‘Naked Blood’ (1995.) ili ‘The Bedroom’ (1992.), kojeg je ‘proslavio’ Issei Sagawa, pravi, nekažnjeni kanibal .
Sato je režirao više od 50 filmova u deset godina karijere, između ostalog i kultnih naslova kao što su Married Woman Collector (1985.), Lolita: Vibrator Torture (1987.) ili Bondage Ecstasy (1989.), a proslavio se i izjavom: Želim snimiti film od kojeg će publika poludjeti, koji će ih natjerati da počine ubojstvo. - Velimir Grgić

Survey Map of a Paradise Lost (1988) [Ending]:

Reporter Nukada's next big assignment is the secret world of Japanese phone sex clubs. He gets in touch with Midori, a part-time employee at the Banana Club, but is startled to hear she's been implicated in the bloody death of a client with perverted tastes Kihara. Sensing a bigger story, Nukada uncovers a link between Midori and the late Kihara's wife and realizes that the situation is much more complex than he imagined. And in this world of blood-play and electro-sex, the biggest shock has yet to be announced... "Survey Map of a Paradise Lost" approaches many themes characteristic for Sato's work like man's relationship with technology, alienation, emptiness and sexual disorder. The film offers some steamy and violent sex scenes and is not for the easily offended. Give it a look.

Muscle (1989) -Ending Scene:

"I wanted to portray communication, not just linguistic communication, but communication through human senses. But communication through the body inevitably distorts the messages. But their desire to share something with someone drives them mad. Then their sense of touch becomes dysfunctional. Then we realize how vulnerable the human senses are. Well, that was the kind of thing i was thinking when i made this movie. I think human beings are leading a more and more twisted existence. For example, you hear that because of poor construction standards, we're actually unconsciously inhaling harmful substances such as asbestos. When talking about our culture, we're becoming somewhat disabled. Because of all the problems that you hear about nowadays and looking at our current society, I can't help think there is a link." - Hisayasu Sato

An underground Japanese film-maker (working mostly in the Pinku genre) that often deals with obsessions, fetishes and perversions arising from various neuroses and social alienations, with warped sex, violence and pain all wrapped in an extreme conceptual bundle. Another recurring theme is of detached or alienated voyeur using technology to view, but not experience, acts of sex and violence, with sex scenes often involving frantic selfish lust. For a while, he was very prolific, although many of his movies are impossible to find and mostly covered the standard Pinku themes of sex, bondage, rape, S&M and violence (not covered here), often mixed with unique Sato touches of abstract and artsy ideas, a wide range of twisted fetishes and perversions, and some plot twists. His explorations cover every sex act and perversion known to man, frequently revisiting all of them without any seeming preferences, including violence, rape or murder from both men and women, gay sex, bestiality, blood fetishes, voyeurism, suicide, etc. His more extreme movies listed here tend to get lost in fetishistic, depraved obsessions as well as impenetrable surreal elements, and sometimes he has something intellectual to say besides the shock and exploitation

Bedroom, The (AKA An Aria on Gaze)  
A difficult film that seems to deal with obsessions, fetishes, voyeurism and exhibitionism but for the life of me, I can't figure it out. A woman goes to a 'sleeping room' where she is drugged and watched over by a strange man, and the clientele play out their fetishes on her comatose body. After a mysterious murder takes place in the bedroom and her husband exhibits strange behaviour, she starts worrying. Fantasies merge into reality, she discovers her detached husband is also on drugs and may have violent and mysterious sexual escapades of his own. A lot of cameras, video-taping and diaries keep the exhibitionism theme going and the woman soon stops taking drugs to watch what the clients are doing to her. Features a twist ending and a cameo by a real-life cannibalistic murderer, but this one is too incomprehensible.

See Rampo Noir.

In a Thicket (Yabu no Naka)  
Sato's re-imagining of In a Grove, on which Rashomon was based. In this version, instead of a web of lies and agendas, we get a web of desires, perversions like incest, and occult phenomenon like an oracle-demon, hallucinations, and human sacrifice. Once again, the story starts with a detective trying to unravel the story of a man and a woman encountering a bandit-rapist in the woods, but the real story keeps turning out to be unfathomable as layer upon layer of strange motives and events keep turning up. Of course, since this is Sato, the rape scene is more explicit, but most of the movie revels in multi-layered hallucinations as the oracle-demon uncovers dark secrets and obsessions, and dead people keep turning up to either change the narrative of what happened, or to haunt and elicit revealing confessions as ghosts. An interesting take, despite the cheap effects, weak period feel, and unescapable Pinku leanings.

Kirie Eleison  
Sometimes confused with Turtle Vision. A female detective tries to live a life of surveillance and of spying on couples having affairs while her husband is in a strange coma. But she lives in a world of desperate emptiness that erupts in perversions and violence, her psyche cracking under the existential pain. Adulterers are mere selfish naked bodies and lustful body parts on a TV screen, the flesh becoming a backdrop for TV noise, she finds herself involved in nonsensical sordid events and blackmail with her clients, and sudden attacks by men in the street and her apartment, her comatose husband wears bizarre goggles that mirror blackness, she receives a psychedelic video that gives her hallucinations, she sees horrors in a blank photograph, and she even gets a cry for help from her computer screen as she types. Her mental instability leads to a climax of violence.

Lolita Disgrace (AKA Brain Sex AKA Radical Hysteria Tour)  
Slightly demented satire by Sato on disaffected youth and the obsession with media and celebrities. A teenage couple drive around improvising radio shows, following night stalkers and rapists or peeping on various sexual escapades, describing what they see in detail, feigning shock and screams as the attackers become more violent. When they find an extremely sadistic murderer-rapist teenager, they make him a celebrity and follow his exploits. A precursor to Natural Born Killers. Also features a strange fetishistic couple that sex each other to death.

Love - 0 = No Limit  
Definitely one of the stranger and artsier entries in Sato's Pinku repertoire. A meditation on different connections made between alienated people explored through AIDS and several characters: A strange man who follows and observes "Unidentified Followed Objects", a happy, risk-taking couple that like to inject each other with their blood and who observe the observer, and a doctor who asks the observer to follow his wife who is suspected of being some kind of vampire hooked on steroids and out for revenge against AIDS-spreading objects. The concepts are merely flirted with, and a lot of the movie feels like inscrutable madness, but is intriguing nevertheless.

Naked Blood  
A budding scientist discovers a formula for converting pain into pleasure (endorphins) and plans to release it as the ultimate painkiller. Secretly replacing his mother's contraceptive experimental drug with his own, he follows the patients and witnesses disastrous consequences as, driven further and further by the pleasure principle, they butcher themselves and others. A brilliant concept but given an over-the-top treatment with disturbingly realistic splatter as one woman eats her own genitals and eyeball, etc. Also features virtual-reality dream sharing with a cactus and a surrealistic sub-plot involving a man who sees a light then disappears. Don't ask.

Night of Body's Model (AKA Night of the Anatomical Doll)  
The theme is obsessions and fetishes over body parts, scents or other human minutiae as representatives or replacements of humans. A woman moves in to an apartment complex populated by some strange people. An obsessive man next door listens in on her every move through the walls, his wall-listening equipment growing more and more complex as he develops an intense empathy with everything she does and feels through the sounds she makes. A scientist father and son duo also interact with her, the strange son developing an unhealthy fetish for his father's prosthetic arm, and an obsession over medical mannequins and artificial body parts. Her food dispenser seems to have a life of its own, strangely creeping out both her and her voyeur-cum-empath neighbour, and they share dreams that grow steadily bloodier and more bizarre as reality starts to melt away in increasingly violent and desperate obsessions.

Pleasure Kill (AKA Lustmord/Genuine Rape)  
A slightly tamer precursor to Naked Blood with a near identical plot. A young man folllows in his father's footsteps experimenting with the barrier between pain and pleasure. He secretly adds his concoction into an experimental drug administered by his mother into some students, with nihilistic results. The students soon discover that pain gives them pleasure and once that happens they can't seem to stop. Sex soon mixes with rape, humiliation, incest, gore, masochism and death as the girls grab anything nearby that can hurt them. Typically for Sato, the young man observes this detachedly as a voyeur with binoculars, but soon joins in on the madness.

Sato does a black, absurd comedy featuring a parade of perversions. A daughter escapes her incestual father, gets molested by some bums, abducted and made to scare a whorehouse client with a chainsaw. She gets entangled with another family which includes a strange man, his incestual mother who is a pimp by night, and his wife who is a nymphomaniac by night. Then a cross-dresser tries to make everyone happy. Perversion so silly it's actually funny.

Re-Wind (AKA Abnormal)  
Sato's confusing take on the snuff-tape thriller. Snuff videos and pictures are found in all kinds of places, gripped by a dismembered hand in a garbage dump, in a video machine in a sex booth, etc. while various characters are either studying the tape, using it as a warmup for some obligatory sex scenes, or filming their own videos that often turn violent for no reason. Cameras and tripods themselves are used as weapons in a statement of cameras becoming the cause of violence, characters keep popping up with confusing motives, there's gratuitous incest and accidental worm eating, and random gratuitous brutal violence including arm-mutilation, nail-carving, abuse with a syringe, and bloody bashing with a tripod. Once again, Sato is playing with the Peeping Tom theme of the camera creating violence by use of detachment, but it's mostly empty-minded titillation and plot twists.

Soft Skin  
Black comedy about a dysfunctional, demented family that sometimes made me think of a lighter version of Visitor Q. Hisayasu Sato explores the usual themes of obsessions, kinks, alienation and violence this time as part of a family unit and in a near-mainstream but warped movie. There's the bored housewife who has her lover fake a kidnapping in order to make her life more exciting and bring her family together, after being inspired by reports of a chainsaw-killer on TV. There's a reporter who is being turned into an kinky exhibitionist by the camera, a daughter with a bad eating-disorder and an enamored young man with a fetish for vomit and other bodily fluids, there's a frustrated and possibly homicidal son who isn't getting any, and so on. The fake kidnapping eventually back-fires, but will the family find happiness?

Bondage Ecstasy (AKA Ecstasy Game)  
Another gay Pinku from Sato, this one bizarre in its humor, and heavily laden with gay S&M erotica. It's all about endless gay sado-masochism sex scenes between various men and co-coworkers, then one employee sprays his boss with red paint instead of insect repellant, reads Kafka before bed and dreams that he is an insect being swallowed by co-workers, and the women in this movie only get in the way, even if one of them is a Dominatrix that comes out of nowhere. Strange, but pointless.

Fetist, The (AKA Hot Breath)
Slightly strange Sato entry from 1998 revisting the gay pinku once again. A young man in a somewhat abusive gay relationship slowly loses his mind and becomes a serial killer, slashing random people in the streets. There's a next-door neighbour obsessed with capturing sounds and eavesdropping, another neighbour who has an S&M relationship with a girl that seems to unsettle and trigger violent and confusing thoughts in the young man, and there's a gay painter who becomes obsesed with the young man. Violence escalates and becomes chaotic, but none of their behaviour makes any sense. Just more of the typical Sato themes of obsessions and fetishes turning violent I guess.

Gimme Shelter AKA Exciting Eros: Hot Skin  
A family of husband, wife, son and daughter turn madly violent and perverted in a modern world of rock music, aerobics, radio and nuclear bombs. It's comical and filthy, like a Visitor Q, except without the happy ending. The father turns into a stalking homosexual, the son goes crazy with razor blades then rapes his mother and sister, the daughter is abused by a lesbian teacher with a syringe and some menstrual issues, there's abuse of food, a scene with a chainsaw and blow-up dolls, etc.

Gods Have a Nervous Breakdown (AKA Special Lesson)  
Another subtly strange Pinku entry by Hisayasu. A female student and her female teacher develop a strange relationship as they discuss spirits that return, death and the experience of dying as it revolves around a student project. When the fawning student visits her teacher in the middle of the night years afterwards, she imposes herself between the teacher and her husband, and a nonsensical psychosexual relationship develops between the three involving lots of sex, and a kinky fetish for blood, death, ghosts and vampires, the movie constantly hinting at these themes without bothering to build a coherent plot.

Horse Woman Dog AKA Poaching by the Water  
Yes, Sato does a bestiality Pinku. The beach is swarming with perverts. A dominatrix abducts wandering girls with the help of her male sex slaves, submits them to rape, abuse, and forced sex with a dog, while a necrophiliac takes pictures of the dead bodies that wash up the next day. When a woman miraculously survives drowning, she shacks up with the photographer who falls for her, but when the dominatrix finds out, she brings in the horse to finish the job. Extreme perversion, on a theme of the bestial nature of both aggressors and victims, with a plot twist.

Lady of the Stable (AKA Wave)  
Based on the rare unsubbed copy I saw, I can only describe this as another artsy violent Pinku by Sato involving a woman with a strange, perhaps psychic relationship with her horse, and a group of people that get in her way. There's bestiality, sex with a severed horse penis which she then keeps in a jar, a strange artistic interest in setting up mannequins in the forest or beach in artistic configurations, some musings over accoustics, sound and communication with beasts via sound waves, severed mannequin limbs, and ultimately, humans turned into objects as well, all of which makes statements I can only guess at.

Lesbian Rape  
A disturbed female lab researcher with a sexual fetish for lizards and test tubes develops an obsession for her female assistant and motherhood. At the same time, a young man develops his own obsession for a gun that shoots liquids. As the researcher's obsession grows, giving her bizarre dreams involving raping the assistant or sodomizing a man with a lizard, she forms an uneasy alliance with the man whom she sends to rape and inject her assistant with his gun. The man grows restless with his role however and becomes more demanding. The ending features an amusing abrupt showdown as a real man's 'gun' appears, but overall, this is fairly uninteresting Pinku twisted sleaze full of strange fetishes.

Lolita Vibrator Torture (AKA Secret Garden)  
An early film by Sato that deals with vibrators and how a young schoolgirl may be more knowledgable and advanced in these matters than perverts. A twisted, disturbed man kidnaps girls and tortures them with a huge vibrator, paint and various liquids, and finally, acid. One day he meets his match in the form of a sadistic, horny schoolgirl with a twisted fetish for vibrators and blood. A mostly uninteresting, pretty extreme Sadean Pinku film.

Muscle (AKA Kitami)  
Sato sometimes explores gay Pinku movies and this is one of his more strangely violent and more well-known entries in this sub-genre. It's also an uninteresting one. An editor for a muscle magazine becomes obsessed over Kitami, the relationship evolving into sadistic, bloody games with knives until he snaps and chops off his arm. After jail, he searches for him to return his severed arm but detours during his quest and becomes involved with a hetero S&M couple for no apparent reason, leading to a bloody finale.-

Interview with Hisayasu Sato

Hisayasu Satô is best known as one of the ‘Four Devils’ of pinku eiga, one of the four directors who rocked the Japanese soft porn industry in the 1990s with their extreme erotic films such as The Bedroom (Uwakizuma: Chijokuzeme, 1992), Love – Zero = Infinity (Iyarashii hitozuma: Nureru, 1994) and Naked Blood (Nekeddo burâddo: Megyaku, 1995). He has also made films in the non-pink industry, contributing the acclaimed ‘Caterpillar’ section to Rampo Noir (Rampo Jigoku, 2005), adapted from the work of mystery writer Edogawa Rampo.
A fictional story based on a non-fiction book about the Japanese porn industry, Love and Loathing and Lulu and Ayano (2010) continues to explore the themes of identity, alienation and communication that run through Satô′s work. The film focuses on a meek, bespectacled young woman, Junko, who tries to escape from an abusive mother and a dreary office job by becoming a porn actress. She constructs an alternative porn identity as the comic character Lulu and strikes an unlikely friendship with the streetwise, fiery Ayano, but soon the tension between her two lives becomes impossible to manage.
Satô attended the premiere of the film at Zipangu Fest, a new, innovative festival of Japanese cinema, and talked to Virginie Sélavy about what Lulu and Ayano reveals about the Japanese porn industry and Japanese society in general, the motivation behind his most extreme films and the influence of Kôji Wakatmatsu.
VS: Could you tell me a bit more about the book Lulu and Ayano was based on?
HS: The book is a collection of interviews with unknown porn actresses who work in the type of films where you learn on the set what you have to do that day. The interviews are about their motives, what drives them to do a job like that.
Are they actresses from AV (Adult Video, the equivalent of hard-core porn), pink film or both?
The girls interviewed in the book are strictly AV actresses, not pink actresses. There are over 100 interviews with girls working in that particular porn industry.
You said in the Q&A that followed the screening that the idea of adapting this book came from a producer, but you weren’t sure you wanted to do it at first. Why did this producer think you’d be a good person to direct the film? And what decided you to do it?
The producer started as a casting producer and Lulu and Ayano was the first film he worked on as a film producer. He became interested in working with me after seeing an old film of mine. Before we decided to do Lulu and Ayano, we were talking about doing another film together, which was a historical piece. But it was difficult to get the funding for that film, we worked on the project for two years but it didn’t work out. So the producer got the licence for the Lulu and Ayano project and he approached me and asked if we could do that one together. He showed me the book and when I read it, I thought it was tough material, they were talking about things like domestic violence and incestuous relationships. The main theme underlying the stories of the girls was the search for identity in the middle of the cruelty that they experienced in their daily lives. To exactly adapt the original book into film would have been too difficult, and it would have been hard to get funding. So I decided to take two or three girls from the book and turn them into characters, fictionalise them. My aim with the film was to show what it’s like to work in the lowest possible form of the porn industry. I didn’t want to make a film about this being a special or particular area, I really wanted to show that this is a normal problem for girls today in Japan and that the weakest members of society get affected by this social phenomenon, and I wanted to depict how they overcome this.
Did you draw on your work in the pink industry to make this film?
Of course I directed pink films and I also directed AV films until four or five years ago, films that actually included rape scenes, and the actresses I encountered on the sets were sensitive girls who were thinking about what they wanted to do in their lives. I thought it was really interesting and I wanted to focus on this in my film.
Do you think your film is a realistic description of the porn industry, not just in the depiction of the actresses, their work and the way they are treated, but also in the characters of the stalker and the scout?
Stalkers and scouts are now a social phenomenon. Porn scouts go to Shibuya, the shopping district in Tokyo and look for girls who have a void in their hearts. They look for the little wounds that will draw them into the porn industry. Stalking especially is an important phenomenon of today’s society. It’s really different from 10 years ago, with the internet it’s possible to communicate with someone you don’t really know. And I think in a way it really depicts this problem of communication, not being able to communicate with each other anymore.
This idea of communication is central to your work, together with characters who are loners or alienated from society. Do you feel Lulu and Ayano continues this theme?
Yes. I came to Tokyo when I was 18 and I personally experienced this gap between society and one’s self. Since then it has been a topic in my films and it is there again in Lulu and Ayano.
What’s interesting is that the film is clearly critical of the way the women are treated in the porn industry but at the same time there is a contrast between the bright world of porn and the dull, repressive office environment.
The office life is what Lulu’s mother wants for her and I took it as a metaphor, a symbol to depict her identity crisis and her conflict with her mother and with what society wants her to be, this nice girl working as an office lady. In a way you could almost say that when the scout approaches her it’s a positive moment; this offer to work as a porn actress seems like a ray of light because it enables her to escape from the expectations of her mother and of society.
Although the film is realistic in some ways, there is also a very stylised aspect, with a great work on colours.
I pay a lot of attention to the colours, the lighting and the set. I’m a photographer, so the look of the film is as important to me as the script and the writing. I always imagined how the film would look like. There is a colour choreography in the film. At the beginning, there are no colours, which should be taken as a metaphor for the situation of the girl at that point, and when she’s asked by the scout to become a porn actress the colours start to come in, in particular in the cosplay scene, but at the very end it returns to black and white. It reflects the inner situation of the characters and the final scene in black and white is like a restart, and it’s also supposed to be a message, a provocative question to the audience: what will happen when Lulu leaves the AV world?
It’s a very female-focused film, and you clearly have a lot of empathy for the actresses. At the same time, some scenes are filmed in a way that could be deemed titillating, for instance the scene where Lulu and Ayano throw beer at each other and take all their clothes off. What was the purpose of that scene and why did you choose to film it in that way?
Lulu and Ayano are two characters who have problems communicating with each other and with other people. I just wanted to show that through their friendship they find they share common points and this scene for me depicts the climax of their friendship. They literally strip down and connect in a way. That’s what it’s meant to be.
Compared with your earlier films, it’s not an extreme film at all, apart from maybe the splatter scene at the end.
For me, film necessarily reflects society, so it would be great to have a world without violence but as I observe it, there is a tendency towards more violence. Now maybe it’s different types, like psychological violence and inner violence, and I don’t know how my films will develop, maybe I’ll depict this inner violence. It’s interesting for me to see how society develops.
Why did you start in pink film? There have been a number of Japanese directors who were attracted to pink film as a faster way of becoming a director and because it allows a lot of freedom. Was it the same for you?
I felt a connection with pink film. Compared to Hollywood, they had very small budgets but films by, for example, Kumashiro Tatsumi, Kôji Wakamatsu and Tanaka Noboru, touched me more. So I felt I wanted to work in that area.
In what way did Wakamatsu influence you?
I wouldn’t say I was directly influenced by him but when I was younger I watched a lot of pink films and older films, including films by Wakamatsu, and I thought that they showed a way to express the repressed anger I felt towards society at the time.
Does that anger explain some of the more extreme imagery in some of the films, such as the self-cannibalistic woman in Naked Blood or the sado-masochistic experiment in Fuga Music for Alpha and Beta (Alpha to beta no fûga, 1989) or the vibrator torture in The Secret Garden (Himitsu no hanazono, 1987)?
Yes, in a way, you could say it reflects the anger I felt at the time, but the anger I express in my films is not very clear. With Wakamatsu, it’s clear that it’s the anger he feels against the political system, but what bothers me more is this invisible violence we experience every day, the individual being suppressed by the system, and this is the violence I’d like to express and which I feel angry against.
Do you feel that the more extreme films you made were connected to a particular time?
Of course society has changed, and so have I. But there was also the criticism I got from cinemas and producers who thought that there shouldn’t be so much violence in pink films. It wasn’t my aim to be so radical, but some of my younger fans always talk to me about this particular aspect, Naked Blood in particular.
In a way, some of your earlier films could be described as horror films. Would you agree?
I’m not so much into genres. Everybody said that the splatter aspect of my early films was very strong but I wasn’t really aware of that. I wasn’t thinking I was making a splatter film or a horror film. For me to show all this blood was necessary to express what I wanted to say. After I was criticised by producers there were a couple of films where I tried to find other means of expression, to find an antithesis to the violence.
In which films for instance?
Love-Zero=Infinity and Rafureshia (Sukebe tsuma: otto no rusu ni, 1995) for instance. Love-Zero=Infinity is a vampire story set in contemporary society. It was a metaphor: I wanted to show that the Japanese society of today is a society of vampires. The imperial system is the backbone of Japanese society as I see it. So the background of the film is the Shôwa era, which is when I grew up. This Shôwa era is what defines me and I wanted to reflect that in the film. I was born on August 15, 1945, when Japan lost the war. I wanted to show the political atmosphere of the era I grew up in. My life started with a prayer – to peace and war veterans – after we lost the war.
If you had the choice, would you rather make pink or non-pink film?
There is a crisis of independent cinema in general in Japan, including pink film. Cinemas are closing and the production opportunities are diminishing. If pink films are shown on TV, the violent scenes are cut. But as I want my films to be seen by as many people as possible, I try to not be so focused on pink films.
Read our report on the Zipangu Festival.
Interview by Virginie Sélavy, translation by Maria Roemer

An Interview with Hisayasu Sato (Love - Zero = Infinity)

(Iyarashii Hitozuma: Nureru, 1994)
By Nakashima Yasushi
Q: There's a quote from you in a book in which you apparently said that you hope the audiences who see one of your films will feel like becoming murderes after watching it.
A: (Laughs) Who would say such a horryfying thing? Obviously that expression is a metaphor and an exaggeration. What I wanted to say was that society is becoming more and more individualistic and we all have to question that sometimes. So I didn't mean to encourage people to become murderers, but if you don't defend what you believe in, society can crush you and you lose your beliefs. That's what I wanted to say as a warning to people when I was interviewed. And I think I still tend to put this message in my films.

Q: So you're not suggesting to them to become murderers?
A: Not at all. I have my own beliefs and values and I want my films to transmit them and reach the audience on an emotional level. I always hope that my films stimulate the audience's sensitivities.

Q: On the other hand, do you think it's not a good idea to surpress emotion even if it's a desire to kill someone?
A: Well, if I tell them to kill, it sounds like I'm inciting murder. (Laughs) But at the end of the day, films are entertainment. I want the audience to use as much imagination and emotion as possible within the framework of watching a film. At the end of the day, everything that happens in a film is kind of happening in the space in which the audience is watching the film. I think they should be allowed to feel every emotion the film can transmit to them. And what I portray isn't anything that is supposed to lead them to do anything.

Q: The films normally have titles such as "Hentai Byoto" (Pervert Ward - Torturing White Uniforms) or Iyarashi Hitozuma Nureru (Love - Zero = Infinity). But these titles are not intended for release, are they?
A: These are the titles of the original screenplays. Basically, when we start shooting a film we use the original title to begin with, but if we use a "Pervert Ward" type of title for a release, people would report us to the police, so must of the films have titles for public consumption as well. But the titles have to be related to the storyline.

Q: So one of the reasons why they have two titles is in case you get in trouble?
A: Well, I guess you're right. (Laughs) Another reason is when shooting starts, the title hasn't been normally been finalized. So, well I guess the biggest reason is that when we open a screenplay in a town, we need an acceptable title.

Q: Personally, do you prefer the original title to remain as the final title?
A: Well, I'm more used to the original title, and so when they change the storyline title to the final title for cinema it doesn't click in my mind straight away when i hear it. So I sometimes think, are they talking about my film? (Laughs) I get confused sometimes...

Q: And also you've used different names for some films?
A: Yes, you're right!

Q: I see two different names in some of your films. What is the reason behind that?
A: Well.. well.. because my films were too radical, they said they didn't want any more Sato films. (Laughs) Well, I did have trouble once before.

Q: But don't they find out it's you anyway?
A: Apparently, when they see the first scene, they can tell it's one of my films. For "Love - Zero = Infinity" we actually gave the distributor a different screenplay and made them agree to the project first. (Laughs) Well, maybe I can explain how it works. Normally, distributors request us to shoot a particular genre of film, and sometimes its "housewife" stuff and other times is "pervert" stuff. When we shot this film, we gave them a screenplay of another housewife type of film and let them agree on it. This is strictly off-the-record. And when the film shoot was completed, they realized it was an outrageous film. It was actually an infamous film. But actually this film is one of my personal favorites. Because I had to trick the distributor first to do what i wanted to do. I ended up putting all my effort into it.

Q: How you came to shoot "Love - Zero..."?
A: Ok. I briefly told you earlier that i used a different name on this piece and called myself Junichi Hata. I wrote the screenplay myself when I was an assistant director and also appeared as an extra in it. I experienced problems for a time because my films were too outrageous and weren't just erotic pink films. The theme of this film was the Dracula of the new generation, but we didn't think the distributor would accept it if we presented the screenplay as it was. Because when they hear about pink films with a housewife theme, they expect rather sexy housewife action, and that wasn't the case here. So we presented another screenplay and let them agree on it. And then shot the film we wanted to make. The films is actually one of my favorites. I guess when we do something we shouldn't have done the feelings of guilt push you to work harder to achieve better results. Also the atmosphere at the location was rather good.

Q: Is it about HIV?
A: I thought of issues such as blood diseases and the blood issue about Emperor Hirohito. I wanted to use them as a theme.

Q: When you say blood issues, what do you exactly mean?
A: I mean blood transfusions. At the time, it wasn't widely publicized in the media, but there was an accident when Hirohito needed a blood transfusion and they wouldn't take any blood for normal citizens. As you know, the Japanese Emperor system didn't allow them to do so. Then the Showa period ended, and the Heisei one started. Obviously, that change was a big change for us. For the close of the Showa Period (the reign of the Emperor Hirohito), I wanted to shoot a film with the theme of blood and used Dracula as the main theme. But that said, it obviously wasn't an ordinary Dracula film. Anyway, I then told the screenplay writter what I wanted to do.

Q: The screenplayer writter of this film was...
A: Shiro Yumeno. And the funny thing is that Yumeno also used another name for this film. He picked the name from one of the characters in the film. So when you hear that Toro Besho wrote the screenplay, you might wonder who he is.

Q: Did he changed the name for the same reason as you?
A: Yes, you're right.

Q: You've already told us about Kiyomi Ito, so the next actor is...
A: Yes, the husband..

Q: He's a well-known actor in the Japanese film industry, but for people abroad, I guess he's not that well known. Do you know his background?
A: I probably told you that when I was a student, I saw Banmei Takahashi's films. Anyway, he had already appeared in those Takahashi films by then. So he's from a much older generation than I am. At the time, Banmei Takahashi was shooting many SM type of films and when I was assistant director, I worked on many Takahashi productions such as the Shuji Kataoka movies. Anyway, Shimomoto originally started in the theater and still does some street performances.

Q: How about Takeshi Ito? He's been an actor for a long time too, hasn't he?
A: Actually, his debut was in my film called "Lolita Vibu-zeme" (Lolita's Vibrator Torture, 1987) which Shishi Production brought from Nikkatsu. You might come across the DVD of the film under the title of "Himitsuno Hanazono". The assistant of the film was Takahisa Zeze, and he met Takeshi Ito when he was shooting independent films. Apparently, Takeshi Ito decided to get into the film industry because he admired the actor.. that actor in "Chochir... that actor who died...

Q: Shoji Kaneko...
A: Yes, Shoji Kaneko! Ito wanted to be like Shoji Kaneko so he decided to join the same production which was by Eichii Uchida's theatre group called "Ginmaku Shonen Dar". At that time, I liked using inexperienced actors in my films. And the assistant director introduced me to him. He was very tall, about 189 cm. And after that he started appearing in some pink and commercial films.

Koji Imaizumi was a member of a theatre group called "Tokyo Grand Guignol". Norimitsu Ameya or Kyusaku Shimada were also members of the same theatre group. One of his fellow actors who was appearing in my films often took him to see the private recordings. I was a bit worried at first because most of the male actors in my films are quite tough and he looked rather weak and quiet. But once I shouted "Start", he completly changed. And he really got into that character. I find those guys who normally appear quiet and have a great potential to utterly change and get into the role, like a bullet being fired.

Q: So, you had a lot of interesting characters in this film?
A: Yes, many characters in this film had very strong personalities. Also, Dai Hiramatsu who played a young guy in this film was also a friend of the assistant director. The assistant director of this film was Shinji Imaoka, who still shoots pink films. He belonged to a thetre group, maybe an actor's circle in University. Anyway, he somehow ended up being in film. Also, Homura Ryumei, who was actually an actress in this film, is now a man.

Q: Did she have a sex change?
A: (Laughs) I don't know if I should've told you this, but yes, she's had a sex change

Q: So you did spend the same amount of time shooting and directing "Love - Zero = Infinity" as on "Survey Map"
A: Yes, right.

Q: I see. Was there anything that took you a long time to do?
A: Oh yes! The screenplay of the film was too long. Normally when we shot pink films, we have to fit it all into 65 minutes. But when we first edited this film, it was around 90 minutes long. So I had to cut a lot of scenes. I remember Shiro Shimomoto said to me: "I've been in hundreds of pink films, but i've never had so many of my scenes cut." He told me that after seeing it at the private showing. I had to cut it a lot.

Q: I didn't notice that in the film.
A: Luckily I could cut the supporting scenes, so in the end I achieved a good balance.

Q: You didn't have to cut so much when you shot "Survey Map"?
A: Well, when we edit, normally it's longer than what it should be, but "Survey Map" wasn't too bad. But I was very surprised how long "Love - Zero" ended up being when edited. When I edit, it's quite common for the film to be around 75 minutes or so long. So I was expecting 10 minutes extra, but I was wrong.

Q: Earlier, you mentioned that the theme of the film was Dracula. When they hear the term Dracula, people abroad think of Vampires or Frankenstein. When they saw this film, they thought you shot it because you were interested in that. And the question is why don't you shoot this kind of film anymore?
A: Talking about Dracula, I thought of Nosferatu by F. Murnau , and Herzog, and the ones before the war. I'm a big fan of Expressionism. So when I shot this film, I deliberately shot it to make it look like a black and white film, even though it was in color. For example, I consistently used three colors in some scenes. I used a lot of visual technique like making the contrast a bit stronger. With "Survey Map", I did this to reduce image sensitivity ratings. We actually use the opposite technique more often which is to increase image sensitivity ratings by reducing color balance in order to increase graininess when developing the film. But for "Survey Map" I use the technique to reduce image sensitivities ratings. When you use this technique, the images will have a weaker color balance. And it causes a strange white membrane to remain on the base of the film. That's a kind of technique I used for "Survey Map", and for "Love - Zero" I consciously used three colors. So I used filter effects on some scenes during the editing process and combined all the scenes together in the end.

Q: So you wanted to express a more non-colorful impression?
A: Monotone was more appropriate for this film in order to enance the atmosphere. When you say vampire film, I think that's more suitable. For example, when you see old German films, like a Murnau one, you probably notice the different ways of using color like that blue they often used. Even their red looks different to ours.

Q: So in that sense, you got inspiration from those vampire films?
A: Well, in the terms of the visual side of it, yes. But story wise, I wanted to portray the same theme from different angles using blood transfusion issues as well as HIV issues. I think if you try making a pure Japanese vampire film, it wouldn't look natural. That's how i felt at that time.

Q: If you have a chance in the future would you shoot a film using the same theme?
A: Do you mean a vampire film?

Q: Yes, and one inspired by old horror films.
A: Well, yes. I didn't shoot this film to make it an horror film but it ended up being one and it was, I guess, inevitable.

Q: They think they use a lot of blood in your films? Why do you like using blood so much?
A: I wonder why too... At the end of the day, we can't live without blood. For "Love -Zero" I thought of the fact that blood that circulates us can be infected sometimes by an energy outside of our bodies which we have control of. Blood is something that exists before our bodied are formed and is our root. I was always interested in knowing what blood really is, ever since I was a child. When I was a child, I used to have nosebleeds very often. There's a child game called "hide-and-seek" in Japan. I used to wrap my body in plastic sheets that I found on a construction site. I think it was at kindergarten that I started to have nosebleeds and the bleeding wouldn't stop for a long time. Then the blood started dropping on the sheet, and I thought I'd die if it didn't stop. So I started swallowing the blood. And obviously it tastes like iron. Then I thought about why we all bleed and what blood is and what my blood is really like. Human blood are divided into four types: A, B, 0 and AB and I wondered what the real difference between these blood types was. When I looked at the blood it looked very thick and muddy. And I thought this could be the reason why human beings are two faced and behave strangely sometimes. I thought that's all to do with this pouring blood. And if we have to have a complete blood transfusion and swap our blood completly, I wondered if our personality might also change. I was interested in that sort of thing when I was a child.

Q: So portraying blood is like portraying human beings?
A: Yes, Japanese people usually use two different faces in different circumstances. So I thought, why can't we all express what we are more honestly? What are we really? Are we actually carrying green blood and not red? Well, that's a bit of an exageration, but we all have a desire to know what the other person actually thinks. So we all want to see the naked mind os the others, but we're not able to show our own. Especially Japanese people, who seem to be wearing a mask all the time. And I am the same. And I thought I wanted to get rid of any dirty blood that I might have. And there might be a possibility that because your blood is so pure you become more agressive in order to protect yourself from evil. So I thought of blood as a root of human beings and portrayed that in my film.

Q: Did you think that it's mysterious that blood is colored red?
A: They sell bottled artificial blood for theatre use that is not harmful, even if accidentally swallowed. But when we use it, it sometimes looks a bit unnatural. It seems like it all depends on the film quality. So I was very particular about those blood scenes when shooting. So I used different ways to make the blood look darker and more realistic, rather than using the brighter stuff. For example, I put Chinese ink into it, as well as red food dye. When we make a lot of blood at the same time, we normally put red food dye in it, but it wasn't enough to make it stickier and more realistic, so I added Chinese ink and a bit of lotion. I asked the assistant director to put it all in a bucket and stir it. And I checked the stickiness of it from time to time until it got right.

A: When I first start making films, everyone seemed to think that bloody scenes were my main focus. So when I shot "Love - Zero" I wanted to make a film that made the audience feel and imagine the blood without many blood scenes. When you think of a vampire film, I guess you think of blood as the main theme, but I wanted to make a film by portraying that theme whithout actually showing blood.

Q: Earlier you said that "Survey Map" was one of your greatest films. How about "Love - Zero"?
A: Well, this is another one of my greatest films. (Laughs) So, you've got all my greatest films. But as a film, I guess "Love - Zero" had a higher quality in the finished film. I managed to portray and visualize what I envisaged in the first place. Personally, I would say that this film could be one of the best pink films ever.

Q: Among all pink films?
A: Yes. That's my personal opinion. I know it all really depends on what the audiences think of it (Laughs). But to me it was the film I could be totally satisfied with when it was completed.

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