films seen
31/108
average score
2.67*
nationality
Japan - 76 years old
status
R.I.P.
more info

Prolific madman director who made low-budget erotic cinema his own, hijacking it as a playground for experimentation and injecting it with strong political ideals. One of the greatest classical directors out there, with an oeuvre spanning half a century.

The good stuff

Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw poster

Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: 17-Sai no Fukei - Shonen wa Nani o Mita
Specifics: Japan [2004] - 89 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
4.0

A film that slows you down for the course of its running time and leaves you with something to think about while looking at impressive imagery and striking you with an impressive soundtrack

Go, Go Second Time Virgin poster

Go, Go Second Time Virgin

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Yuke Yuke Nidome no Shojo
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 65 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
4.0

Solid pieces

Petrel Hotel Blue poster

Petrel Hotel Blue

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Kaien Hoteru · Burû
Specifics: Japan [2012] - 84 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.5

2012 was going to be a great year for Koji Wakamatsu. With three films released and already a fourth one on the way, he was on a roll. At the age of 76, that's quite a feat. Sadly it wasn't meant to be. On a walk home from a budget meeting Wakamatsu was hit by a cab and he would pass away soon after. A surprisingly tepid ending for an explosive director.

Kaien Hoteru - Buru (Petrel Hotel Blue) is one of the three films Wakamatsu managed to finish in 2012. It's a peculiar film, experimental but featuring an elaborate narrative and remarkably free from political propaganda. It would make a good companion piece to Landscapes the Boy Saw, though both films are still quite different from each other.

Kaien Hoteru - Buru starts off with a robbery gone wrong. When Yukio's friend Yoji doesn't show up to provide backup, Yukio is caught and is sentenced to a 7 year stay in prison. Upon his release, Yukio vows to take revenge on Yoji. He finds out his location and ends up on a small, barren island where Yoji is running a bar/hotel.

That's when things get strange. Even though there's a whole crime story slowly unravelling, the film is more interested in Rika's character, Yoji's wife. She doesn't really speak, she disappears into thin air from time to time and she transfixes every man she meets. She's the catalyst of just about everything that happens, but her exact role is never truly explained.

The film is obviously a low-budget affair, but the location is terrific and the camera does a great job capturing its alien atmosphere. The soundtrack too adds a very mysterious feel, making everything that much weirder. The only real downer is the cast. Go Jibiki (a late-Wakamatsu regular) is solid, but the rest of the actors fail to find the right vibe.

Still, Kaien Hoteru - Buru is worth a gamble, especially if you're already familiar with Wakamatsu's oeuvre. It's a moody, atmospheric and mysterious film, not the kind of thing you'd expect a 76 year old to make. It might have been easier to accept Wakamatsu's passing if he'd been making crap movies, on the other hand, at least he got productive again right before passing away.

Caterpillar poster

Caterpillar

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Kyatapirâ
Specifics: Japan [2010] - 85 mins
Genre: Drama, War
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Ecstasy of the Angels poster

Ecstasy of the Angels

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Tenshi no Kôkotsu
Specifics: Japan [1972] - 89 mins
Genre: Drama, Action, Mystery
More info on :IMDb
3.5
The Woman Who Wanted to Die poster

The Woman Who Wanted to Die

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Segura Magura: Shinitai Onna
Specifics: Japan [1970] - 72 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Running in Madness, Dying in Love poster

Running in Madness, Dying in Love

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Kyôsô Jôshi-kô
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 77 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Violent Virgin poster

Violent Virgin

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Gewalt! Gewalt: Shojo Geba-Geba
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 66 mins
Genre: Horror, Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.5

One of Wakamatsu's better films. 1969 was a good year for him. Not only did he direct a ton of films, many of them ending up becoming stand-outs in his oeuvre. Violent Virgin contains all the typical Wakamatsu traits and combines them into a surreal trip that bewilders, disgusts and intrigues in equal amounts.

Like many of his films, Violent Virgin is not an easy watch. It's a sort of prelude to the American rape/revenge films of the 70s (think I Spit On Your Grave or The Last House on the Left) that would give the horror genre a serious boost, only Wakamatsu's films are more skillfully and artfully executed.

Lush, high contrast black and white cinematography, perverse games, amoral behavior, rape, murder, it's all here. There isn't much in the way of plot, then again it's a pretty short film so there's really no time for it to get boring. Probably not the easiest introduction to Wakamatsu's work, but definitely one of the better films I've seen from him.

The inoffensive

The Millennial Rapture poster

The Millennial Rapture

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Sennen no Yuraku
Specifics: Japan [2012] - 118 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Wakamatsu didn't really go out with a bang, but this is a worthwhile final feature that at the very least shows he still had a couple of films left in him. An interesting family chronicle with a stellar performance by Shinobu Terajima. The film looks a bit too cheap and digital, it also lacks Wakamatsu's trademark grit, but otherwise it's a fine drama.

Sacred Mother Kannon poster

Sacred Mother Kannon

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Seibo Kannon Daibosatsu
Specifics: Japan [1977] - 90 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Interesting Wakamatsu. Not as overtly political as his most of his work, instead it features a clear yet slightly repetitive narrative that holds up well enough. The characters are blunt and enigmatic, the film looks nice and the pacing is on point.

Shinjuku Mad poster

Shinjuku Mad

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Shinjuku Maddo
Specifics: Japan [1970] - 65 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0
Sexual Play poster

Sexual Play

by Masao Adachi, Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Seiyûgi
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 71 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0
Naked Bullet poster

Naked Bullet

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Yawa Hada Mushuku: Otoko Goroshi Onna Goroshi
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 72 mins
Genre: Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.0

The number of films Wakamatsu made during the 60s feels endless. Though his style is quite consistent, the quality of these films is a bit hit-and-miss, depending on their level of experimentation, political focus and no doubt the mood of the day. In '69 alone Wakamatsu made 13 films, so having an off-day probably wasn't even an option for him.

Compared to his other films, Naked Bullet is a rather straightforward genre flick. While you get your fair share of vintage Wakamatsu (i.e. rape, crime elements and alternating sequences shot in black and white vs color), the overall tone of the film is a lot lighter, mostly playing like a funky, sometimes even comedic gangster film.

It's a somewhat surprising departure from most other Wakamatsu films I've seen so far, but when you're making so many films each year it's really no surprise you eventually end up trying something different. Wakamatsu handles himself pretty well too, the film looks stylish, sports some memorable scenes and offers some good genre fun.

Violence without a Cause poster

Violence without a Cause

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Gendai Sei Hanzai Zekkyô Hen: Riyû Naki Bôkô
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 71 mins
Genre: Action, Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.0
Violated Angels poster

Violated Angels

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Okasareta Hakui
Specifics: Japan [1967] - 56 mins
Genre: Drama, Thriller
More info on :IMDb
3.0
The Orgy poster

The Orgy

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Ranko
Specifics: Japan [1967] - 67 mins
Genre: Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Fine Wakamatsu. Less political and psychologic than some of his more famous ones, though his usual trademark elements are still present in some way or another. Fun, short and intriguing hitman film, nice shots and a decent score make for a film that is quite unlike other films from the 60s.

Worthy but flawed

United Red Army poster

United Red Army

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Jitsuroku Rengô Sekigun: Asama Sansô e no Michi
Specifics: Japan [2007] - 190 mins
Genre: Drama, Crime
More info on :IMDb
2.5
Endless Waltz poster

Endless Waltz

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Endoresu Warutsu
Specifics: Japan [1995] - 102 mins
Genre: Drama, Romance, Biography, Music
More info on :IMDb
2.5
Secret Flower poster

Secret Flower

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Hika
Specifics: Japan [1971] - 70 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.5
Sex Jack poster

Sex Jack

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Seizoku
Specifics: Japan [1970] - 70 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.5

If you're familiar with Wakamatsu's 60s and early 70s work, this film will hold no surprises for you. A clan of young revolutionaries couped up in a small room, doing their best to revolt against the establishment. There are a few nice scenes, but it feels a little too familiar and indistinct compared to his better work.

Season of Terror poster

Season of Terror

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Gendai Kôshoku-den: Teroru no Kisetsu
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 78 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.5

Typical late-60s Wakamatsu. Shot in black and white, a background of political revolution and free love. Wakamatsu made a gazillion of these films around that time. This one is very thin on plot though and 80 minutes is a tad long, but Wakamatsu fans probably won't be disappointed. Not his best, but still worth watching.

The Embryo Hunts in Secret poster

The Embryo Hunts in Secret

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Taiji ga Mitsuryosuru Toki
Specifics: Japan [1966] - 72 mins
Genre: Drama, Crime
More info on :IMDb
2.5

An early Wakamatsu, which is exactly what you can expect. He's clearly still developing his style here, the plot is extremely thin though thematically Wakamatsu draws a lot from it. Short, experimental and pretty edgy, at least for its time. Not as good as his late 60s work, but still worth a shot.

Dubious filler

11.25: The Day He Chose His Own Fate poster

11.25: The Day He Chose His Own Fate

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: 11·25 Jiketsu no Hi: Mishima Yukio to Wakamono-tachi
Specifics: Japan [2012] - 119 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.0
Serial Rapist poster

Serial Rapist

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Jûsan-nin Renzoku Bôkôma
Specifics: Japan [1978] - 60 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
2.0

Wakamatsu has a reputation for making divisive and unflinching films, but this one offers a whole new level of nihilism. The title says it all really, the film follows a serial rapist on his murderous rampage. He wanders around, talks to random women, isolates them, rapes them and kills them.

And that's pretty much it. Little to no context is given to explain his actions, his victims remain completely unknown to the audience, all we get to see is the continuous torture, shot in a very detached and matter-of-fact way. It's not a very pleasant film to watch, neither is it very titillating, but if you like dark and relentless films, is it quite impressive.

The presentation is pretty cheap though. Wakamatsu's camera merely registers, there's little in the way of a soundtrack and the actors aren't exactly A-grade material either. It's clearly a film made on the cheap, but it does get its message across. An interesting watch for Wakamatsu fans, but it's pretty hard to recommend.

Vengeance Demon poster

Vengeance Demon

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Fukushûki 
Specifics: Japan [1969] - 73 mins
Genre: Thriller
More info on :IMDb
2.0
Abnormal Blood poster

Abnormal Blood

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Nihon Bôkô Ankokushi: Ijôsha no Chi
Specifics: Japan [1967] - 75 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.0

This wasn't Wakamatsu's best. The subject (an exploration of the lineage of a serial rapist) is right up Wakamatsu's alley, but Abnormal Blood goes for a somewhat dramatic and narrative approach. Personally I prefer it when he takes a more experimental route, because that's where Wakamatsu's real strength lies.

Abnormal Blood is part of a trilogy, of which I haven't seen the other parts. Maybe things feel more like a whole after seeing the remaining entries, but as a stand-alone film it felt a bit aimless and disjointed. It's also quite short considering the scope of the undertaking, at just 75 minutes.

The usual switches between color and black and white are nice enough, Wakamatsu's camera work is interesting and even though it's a more narrative -focused film, the film still feels relatively vibrant and emotional. The ending is pretty cool, but not enough to redeem the entire film. This one is for Wakamatsu completists.

Secrets behind the Wall poster

Secrets behind the Wall

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Kabe no Naka no Himegoto
Specifics: Japan [1965] - 90 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.0

Plain forgettable

Perfect Education 6 poster

Perfect Education 6

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Kanzen Naru Shiiku: Akai Satsui
Specifics: Japan [2004] - 99 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
1.5
Erotic Relations poster

Erotic Relations

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Erotikkuna Kankei
Specifics: Japan [1992] - 95 mins
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Crime
More info on :IMDb
1.5
A Pool without Water poster

A Pool without Water

by Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Mizu no nai Puuru
Specifics: Japan [1982] - 103 mins
Genre: Drama, Crime
More info on :IMDb
1.5

Irritation overload

Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War poster

Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War

by Masao Adachi, Koji Wakamatsu
Also know as: Sekigun-P.F.L.P: Sekai Sensô Sengen
Specifics: Japan [1971] - 69 mins
Genre: Documentary
More info on :IMDb