Pink Films Vol. 3 & 4: Abnormal Family (Japan, 1984) & Blue Film Woman (Japan, 1969)
Continuing their run of limited-edition box sets, Third Window Films have released their second Pink Films package. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the films have been expertly remastered in 4K from a 35mm print, and 35mm camera negative, respectively.
Abnormal Family, which was written and directed by Masayuki Suo, tells the story of newly married Yuriko (Kaoru Kaze) and Koichi (Shiro Shimomoto, who have moved in with Koichi’s family. Koichi is obsessed with sex, ultimately losing interest in Yuriko while she develops a special relationship with her father-in-law (Ren Osugi) and helps her brother-in-law Kazuo (Kei Shuto) with a delicate situation. The film is part comedy and part drama and is homage of sorts to the oeuvre of Yasujiro Ozu, which focused on the ebb and flow of the family unit. Like many Pink films, Abnormal Family makes a social statement regarding the disintegration of the family, but also its resilience, as Yuriko becomes determined to stay in the house with her in-laws, waiting (and hoping) for her husband to eventually come home. It’s a short film, clocking in at only 63 minutes, but it has all of the hallmarks of a classic Pink title, making it an entertaining watch.
Blue Film Woman, directed by Kan Mukai, is a rare gem from the Golden Age of Pink films, and one of the first to be filmed in color. A stock trader loses a lot of money and asks his creditor for an extension to pay back a loan. The greedy and perverse creditor decides he wants to have sex with the stock trader’s wife. The couple agrees, but in an additional arrangement with the creditor’s developmentally disabled son, the trader’s wife dies. Out of grief and guilt, the trader kills himself, leaving his daughter Mariko (Takako Uchida) to seek revenge on the creditor who destroyed her family. Though the film has scenes that are at times psychedelic and almost hallucinatory, it is at its heart, a melodrama and its central theme is corruption. Mariko, is a reluctant heroine and her style of revenge doesn’t employ violence, but rather strategic game play. It is a real treat to see this film, as most Pink films from the 1960s and ‘70s no longer exist. Sadly, studios just didn’t bother to save these films.
The set also includes a highly informative 35-minute featurette, “Pink Thrills: Jasper Sharp on Pink Eiga”. Sharp, the author of Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema (2008), examines the history of Pink films, and explains why he particularly enjoys the two chosen for this welcome release.
Pink Films Vol. 3 & 4 is now available from Third Window Films.