Japanese Pop Cinema in London

You don’t need subtitles to understand the appeal of Mariko Kaga, often called the Japanese Bardot and star of Monday Girl (Getsuyoubi No Yuka), Ko Nakahira’s French new wave-esque tale of a good-girl-gone-wild from 1964. Petite and pouty, Kaga piles her hair up in a messy black bouffant, and looks ravishing as she prances around in a men’s shirt with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. I picked up the DVD whilst living in Tokyo, and despite the lack of English subtitles and my failed attempts to understand the too-fast-to-catch Japanese, I enjoyed multiple screenings, perfectly satisfied watching the adorable Kaga flit between Yokohama’s nightclubs and bedrooms, in Nakahira’s beautiful monochrome. Monday Girl has rarely been shown outside of Japan, but the BFI in London are soon to host a film festival honoring Nikkatsu, the oldest film studio in Japan, with screenings of Monday Girl along with girl-gang drama Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, juvenile delinquent flick I Look Up When I Walk (starring “”Sukiyaki” singer Kyu Sakamoto), along with other top picks from the studio’s “golden age” of the ’50s + ’60s. 

The Nikkatsu Studio Film Festival runs from June 1 – 30, 2013 at London’s BFI Cinema.

For film times + tickets: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/nikkatsu-studios


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