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That selection of music makes the film

Epic Tale of Vanished Youth: 1991’s ‘SKINLESS NIGHT’ unveiled through Hachimitsu Pie’s iconic anthem

2023.9.13

#MUSIC

The 1991’s movie “SKINLESS NIGHT,” cinephiles’ favorite rare masterpiece, will be released in theaters for the first time in 32 years.

The film symbolically uses the song “Hei no Ue de” by Hachimitsu Pie, the band that preceded the Moonriders and was only active for a short period in the early 1970s. Yuji Shibasaki, a music director and critic with an unusual obsession for the aforementioned song, explains the appeal of this film, focusing on the music and its era.

This is the 6th installment of “The Music Selection Creates the Movie ” series. This article contains descriptions of the film’s contents. Please be forewarned.

A personal odyssey by an adult film auteur

Director Rokuro Mochizuki is excellent at portraying helpless men. Or he might even be a little too skillful. His skill is sometimes blatantly anti-chronological. Despite being Unaware of their own helplessness, dreamy, and willing to cause trouble around them, that’s what he describes.

On the other hand, the men depicted in Rokuro Mochizuki’s works are strangely honest and humorous. The innocence and humor that these irrepressible people hold in their hearts at the same time. The film, as a medium, has long excelled at capturing such multiple facets and openness of human beings with sharp and sometimes cruel beauty, rather than simply dismissing them. In this sense, Rokuro Mochizuki is unquestionably a “master of film.”

Born in Tokyo in 1957, Mochizuki became absorbed in film and theater as a young man and dropped out of Keio University. He then entered the Image Forum Research Institute. And after graduation, he studied under Masaru Kaneko, starting his career as a screenwriter. His talent was recognized by porno film master Nakamura Genji, and while working on screenplays for Nikkatsu roman-porno films (check out “Girl Rape Case: Red Shoes,” directed by Uegaki Yasuro, a rare masterpiece in the history of Nikkatsu roman-porno, which he co-wrote during this period), he also worked as an assistant director.

After marking his directorial debut in 1985, he continued to work in the porno movie industry, but in 1987 he started his own company and engaged mainly in the production of adult videos.

This film, “Skinless Night” (1991), was the first non-pornographic film Mochizuki worked on. It was screened at more than 10 film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival, and was highly acclaimed. Now that the 35mm film has been unearthed, it has been given an elaborate digital restoration and is being screened in a revival for the first time in 32 years.

The main character, Mutsuro Kayama (Hitoshi Ishikawa), is a former porno film director who now runs an adult video production company while directing his own films. While he is busy with his production, his dream of making movies, which he once dreamed of, comes back to him in a flash.

Although unsatisfied with his life, he cannot shake off his frustration. Moreover, although he has a family, he is unable to break his longing for the woman he had a crush on in his youth and chases after her shadow subconsciously.

As you may have noticed from the synopsis above, this film is a semi-autobiographical work that projects Mochizuki’s own personal journey even though some episodes had been dramatized by Mochizuki. In this respect, the film is reminiscent of François Truffaut’s “Bed and Board” (1970) and “Love on the Run” (1979). Therefore, the story, which carefully describes the details of the industry, the characterizations of the film’s characters, and the weakness, frustration, and hesitation shown by Kayama are all accompanied by a somewhat tingling, existential realism. In addition, the unique colorful atmosphere of Tokyo from the late Showa to the early Heisei period, which is evoked in the locations and props, will bring a kind of strange nostalgia and comfort to even those of our generation who has not lived in those days.

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