(aka 'Kofun" or "Naked Pursuit')
Well... my guess at what we have here is what started out as a reasonably serious, but limited, art film - that has been transformed and marketed as a Japanese sexploitation film ('pink' film). The original Japanese edition, with its frequent close-ups and occasional obtuse camera angles, has almost no dialogue but a sleaze-opportunist named Harry Novak created an American DUB that not only alters the intent of the film but egregiously exploits the more graphic scenes with 'voice-overs' representing the supposed thoughts of the characters. Now, I'm, sure it had intentions of exploitation in the films birth, but any subtlety that marginally existed was eventually lost. What it has then done has turned 'Naked Pursuit' into a bit of a, very clandestine, comedic gem almost ala Woody Allen's 'What's Up Tiger Lily'. The plot? - it had some potential - a girl contemplating suicide - is attacked on a lone island by a man escaping justice from a killing at a student demonstration. In a kind of 'Helsinki Syndrome' way they come to establish an understanding. The Japanese film, on its own merits is a small notch above a student film. The English DUB version and its serious sexploitation intent is a kind of bastardized curiosity - the kind that cult films are built upon.
Theatrical Release: November 1969
DVD Review: Asterix Home Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Asterix Home Entertainment Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
commentary by film critics Luke Y. Thompson & Jess Hlubik
I watched this Asterix Home Entertainment DVD on a tube and the interlacing was not the biggest issue, nor the scattered speckles of damage - but the flickering contrast that infested the first 20 minutes and much of the rest of the film was most distracting. Otherwise it seemed fairly sharp and detailed (see images below). The end color portion scenes looked bright and impressive. English subtitles are offered in an awful yellow font. The original Japanese audio is present as well as an optional English DUB.
But what kind of 'makes' this DVD package is an included audio commentary by Luke Y. Thompson & Jess Hlubik. They introduce themselves as 'world famous critics' but I can only guess it was said 'tongue-in-cheek'. Anyway, in their own crude manner the two share some interesting information about the film including some salient points of interpretation of the Japanese version. Unfortunately though, it quickly spirals into a kind of 'Mystery Theater 3000' sarcasm-fest with the two of them mocking the film at every turn (continuity errors, incongruous music interludes etc.) - not that it doesn't deserve mocking! I think it might have faired better had it been kept at a more professional level, but I don't discount this attempt at some decent fun. They make various references about other exploitation genre films and some very intelligent comparisons to mainstream works. I had never heard of these two before but they definitely had some extended knowledge and worked well together. Still a gigantic leap from Tony Rayns or Eddie Muller.
I can only recommend this to those keen on exploitation / sexploitation / 'pink' films. Now, personally I'm not a fan but I still got something out of it - so take that for what it is worth. The price is sure right for a DVD with a commentary, even a non-standard one like this.