ECSTASY OF THE ANGELS
--Co-Sponsored by the UCLA Terasaki Center
for Japanese Studies--
Presentation format: 35mm
Directed by: Koji Wakamatsu, Country: Japan
Released: 1972, Runtime: 79 minutes
About the film:
Originally created in 1961 to distribute European art films, Japan's Art Theater Guild (or ATG) began producing their own independent films in 1967, and soon unleashed a string of experimental, innovative, and highly controversial works that would challenge not only postwar Japanese society, but cinema itself. ATG captured the pulse of Japan's blistering underground movements and cultural schisms, tackling everything from queer pride to the after-effects of World War II, communist radicalism to Situationist theater, pornography to politics. “We are going to war! Smash it all!” cries a revolutionary in Koji Wakamatsu's incendiary cine-assault, Ecstasy of the Angels; ATG aimed to do just that, with film as its main weapon. This film is the creation of Director Koji Wakamatsu who, after filming the Japanese Red Army in the Palestinian territories, became a target of both the Japanese government and Interpol, and was blacklisted by the American government, unable to leave Japan.
"Maverick auteur Koji Wakamatsu once again marries softcore porn with radical politics with this trippy tale about a member of a militant group coming apart at the seams as it plans its latest strike against society. The members of the group, who all go by code names based on the days of the week, labor under the "Autumn" branch of the organization. Following a late-night weapons raid on a U.S. Army base that turns bloody, members of the "Spring" branch attack, torture, and rape Saturday and Friday, demanding the weapons cache. This betrayal echoes throughout the group, turning friend against friend, as one and all descend into paranoia and sexual decadence. Some go crazy, as others grow ever more revolutionary. Evidentially, a splinter group unleashes a wave of bomb attacks upon the unsuspecting bourgeois of Tokyo."
--Jonathan Crow, Rovi
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● A Graduate Student-run screening series of new sneak previews, LA premieres, and cult
or classic repertory films that runs twice weekly throughout the UCLA academic year. Films are frequently accompanied by special guests, cast or crew, Q&A sessions and more.
● Funded by the Graduate Students Association and ASUCLA Student Interaction Fund.