Weisser's books

Roland Domenig roland.domenig
Thu Apr 19 12:45:20 EDT 2001

I agree with Jasper, that it is easy to find faults with Weisser's THE SEX
FILMS book (Jasper mentioned some of them), but that the effort to actually
write such a book should be acknowledged. Even if I don't agree with Weisser
that pink eiga are 'the most important Japanese contribution to world
cinema', they are an important part of the annual film production and
deserve more attention than they usually get. Unless someone else will write
a better book it will remain the most comprehensive source on the subject
that exist. 
The sheer number of films - there are several thousands of them - make it of
course necessary to make a selection and here I sometimes find it hard to
follow Weisser's criteria. The book claims to be based not on the artistic
quality of the films but their merit within the intended market. However,
while the book lists films like Furuhata Yasuo's Kantsubaki, Ichikawa Kon's
Kagi, Mizoguchi's Akasen chitai, Shindo Kanetos Onibaba or Teshigawara's
Suna no onna, it totally ignores Hamano Sachi, the most productive and -
arguably - most 'successful' pink eiga director of the last decade. The book
is very extensive but far from being complete. There is much that could have
been made better, but still, it is the best (only) book on the subject on
the market. 

One more word about the sensationalist titling: I think this is Weissers's
real accomplishment, because with a few exceptions he comes as close to the
original as you can come. I always thought that titles like 'Juyokuma
ranko', 'Seifuku rinchi - Nejirikome' or 'Saishin soputekunikku - Awahime
goten' are untranslatable.

Roland Domenig
Vienna University


> It's easy to mock his books, though its important to remember that they are
> VERY complete, and will give you an idea of exactly how much stuff is out
> there and a broad introductory background to the subject. Weisser is a bit
> of a pioneer in this respect, as he's seen hundreds of films which have
> never been written about in English before.
> The Sex films book is an extraordinary achievement. I never realised there
> was so much out there, and I don't know whether to admire or pity him for
> having seen them all - the full filmography of Hisayasu Sato, for example,
> is quite something. As 95% of these films will never make make it outside of
> Japan, its rather hard to tell whether the information in this book is
> correct or not. I spotted a few errors and I'll point out that Pinku is
> hardly my specialised subject. The individual reviews aren't too important
> or interesting, but the sporadic profiles of the directors are useful, if
> not always correct, and its another case of providing a very complete guide
> to a subject which hasn't been broached before.
> Both of these books, especially SEX, suffer from the fact that the films are
> listed under the direct English translation of their Japanese titles, or
> Weisser's own interpretation, often ignoring the Eng lang titles listed in
> distributors catalogues, in favour of more sensationalist titlings such as
> etc. Wakamatsu's ECSTASY OF ANGELS is thus translated as ANGELIC ORGASM etc.
> Still, as there's so little available on Japanese films, I would tentatively
> recommend them, but use with caution.

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