Nikkatsu Film Series

What with your Ozus and your Kurosawas and your Mizoguchis, discovering Japanese cinema during the ’60s could be a fairly dry affair. Back home in Tokyo, however, people were flocking to more sensational pictures—many produced by Studio Nikkatsu, whose tawdry, tabloidy output is being showcased with four titles through Monday. The series, “No Borders, No Limits,” begins with The Warped Ones (1960), about a jazz-loving petty thief (Tamio Kawaji, with liquid-amphetamine blood) just out of the juvie hall. He and his accomplice dress and cavort like dancers in West Side Story—pants worn tight and high, open shirts knotted at the navel, literally skipping between crimes, mad for music and movement. In one memorable monologue, our rapist-hero Akira praises African-Americans: “They’re the best. They created jazz. Then the whiteys stole it. And now we’re copying it. We’re the worst.” In fact, at his favorite bar, Akira has one black friend (Chico Roland)—possibly a leftover beatnik from the U.S. occupying troops—but the real object of his sick ardor is the bohemian painter he sexually assaults (Noriko Matsumodo). She’s engaged to a cop, who then treats her like she’s defiled. After that, it’s a wild race to the bottom, and it’s entirely uncertain until the last scene who’s the most warped among this crew. See NWFF Web site for full schedule and details. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $15–$20 (series), $5–$8.50 (individual). 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Fri., July 25, 7 p.m., 2008

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