Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion - Triple Feature Collection|
Director: Shunyo Ito
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Animation
Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion Wrongfully imprisoned, Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion is absolutely hell-bent on exacting revenge upon those who betrayed her. Forced to endure the perils of prison life and the wickedness of a... more »
The Scorpion puts the Bride to Shame!
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 07/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701
By the end of the 1960s, film ticket sells in Japan had dropped immensely because of the influx of the popularity of television. In order to make ends meet, several of the big studios turned to making "pink films" or "Roman Porno" flicks as they were commonly called. Most of these films were quite cheap and their production time was quite short. A good portion of these films pandered to some of the darker aspects of sexual desire including such themes as rape, S&M, and incest. Obviously, these films were often geared towards a male audience. During the latter half of the 1960s the female characters within these films were often "victims" of physical, emotional, and sexual violence in these films. However, it was often the case that such violence would lead the victim to fall in love with her rapist with an almost maternal affection. However, by the early 1970s, while these films were still full of gratuitous nudity and violence, the female characters began to grow stronger and instead of falling in love with their victimizers would strike back violently against them.
Female Prisoner # 701-Scorpion stars Kaji Meiko, probably most famous for her role as Lady Snowblood, as Matsushima Nami, a young woman sentenced to prison after attempting to kill her detective boyfriend after he used her in a bust that also resulted in her being raped by several members of the yakuza. Now, some three years later, Nami along with her friend Yuki try to escape a women's prison, but are soon caught. Imprisoned once again, Nami suffers torture at the hands of other prisoners, including having scalding miso soup poured on her bare skin. However, her spirit is never broken. Ever silent, Nami waits for the day in which she can seek her revenge.
On the surface Female Prisoner # 701-Scorpion is no different than several other films produced in this genre. It includes such scenes as the rape scene, a vaguely S&M scene, a lesbian sex scene, etc. However, it is evident that Ito, this was his debut film by the way, was trying to make more out of this films parts than the composite whole. The camera definitely shines at certain moments and there is even a scene that is reminiscent of a horror scene that could be found in a kabuki play, albeit one with a female cast and full nudity. Also, like many films from this period, this movie has an excellent soundtrack with Kaji singing vocals on the title and ending track "Urami Bushi" which was also used in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films.
A decent film with several sequels, spin-offs, and imitators, I would recommend this film to anyone who is interested in Japanese film from this time period or Exploitation films in general.
Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Beast Stable
The third volume of the Female Prisoner Scorpion Series, Beast Stable, opens up with quite a bang, or maybe it would be better to say a large meaty slice, when our heroine Matsushima Nami, better known as Sasori, or Scorpion, slices open the face of one police officer and then hacks off the arm of another, an arm that she is handcuffed to, so that she can escape a train. The viewer is then treated to a running Scorpion with a severed arm dangling from the handcuffs that bind her to it. If this scene is not twisted enough, we then go to view a young prostitute copulating indifferently with a man on top of her. Now this scene is not really odd until we learn that the girl, Yuki, is having sex with her own mentally handicapped brother. So begins the third volume, some also consider the weakest volume, of the Female Prisoner Scorpion series.
Unlike the other volumes of the series in which the action, of course, centers on Sasori, Beast Stable seems to be more interested in the being of Yuki. Stuck with her familial obligation to take care of her retarded brother, Yuki makes her living as a prostitute. However, because she is an independent worker, she often comes under the attack of Yakuza who want a cut of her money. Because of her situation she begs Sasori to kill her brother, but has a change of heart and eventually this familial bond will lead her to betray Sasori.
Sasori's role is a bit underplayed in this film. She does get revenge on a handful of yakuza and some police officers, but most of her time is spent hiding within the sewers. However, the time in the sewers also offers the audience some scenes of filmic beauty when Yuki drops matches through manholes to attract Sasori. Sasori's, whose being is the embodiment of the betrayed, face is extraordinarily innocent in these scenes and almost glows with naïveté and trust. Because of these images her fate is that much bitterer.
While it might not be as action packed or stylish as the first two films in the series, Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable is still a decent film and it does raise such issues as body politics and abortion.
Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Grudge Song
Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Grudge Song not only marks Kaji Meiko's last performance as Matsushima Nami, aka Sasori--the Scorpion--but it also marks a change of directors with Hasabe Yasuharu taking the director's chair from Ito Shunya. Kaji was unhappy with this switch of directors and the resulting film, so this film marks the end, if one does not count non-Kaji related Female Prisoner Scorpion films, of one of the great heroines of 1970s Japanese cinema.
Like the previous film, Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Beast Stable, this film begins with police in hot pursuit of Sasori. Fleeing from a wedding, not her own, a bleeding Sasori encounters a man named Kudo Teruo, a man whose body, and manhood, is horribly scared by his encounters with the police during the latter years of the 1960s when he was a student activist. Daily Kudo checks on Sasori bringing her food and other such necessities and slowly against her instinct she slowly falls in love with him. Sasori, who is nearly completely silent in all of the Female Prisoner Scorpion films, goes under a transformation and one can tell that her features have softened. Being that Kaji rarely speaks in these films, her face speaks volumes and seeing the affection and naïveté on her face fills the viewer with compassion for her especially when one has the knowledge that she will soon again be betrayed.
Although Kaji Meiko herself was not satisfied with the outcome of Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Grudge Song, I think that it is a bit stronger that the previous film in the series. While the police never had a shining image in the series, the negativity towards it that many filmmakers held towards it really comes to the fore in this film. This is readily shown in how the police deal with Kudo in both flashback and within the time of the film. Kudo was forced not only to betray his fellows years ago, but also Sasori. Both Kudo's fellows and Sasori could represent a change of conservative society, but such efforts are destroyed by the police, i.e. the state. This might be reading too much into this film, but such tactics as fear and violence used, even against their own, by the police reek of a strong control mentality."
Jason A. Greeno | San Diego, CA USA | 03/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lots of fun. Exploitation is always a good time, isn't it? Well, this is not exception. Very much has a grindhouse feel. If you like other movies like Ilsa or Tokyo Gore Police or Lone Wolf, you'll like these."