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One of Wakamatsu's first movies outside the pink genre, Ecstasy of the Angels (1972), screened earlier this season in Doc Films's fascinating Japanese underground series. On Saturday the series will present a full-blown pink film, Dutch Wife in the Desert (1967); it screens at the U. of C. Film Studies Center at 7 PM as part of a weekend-long event. Directed by Yamatoya Atsushi (best known in the States as the screenwriter of Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill), Dutch Wife is reportedly a surreal crime movie in which a detective investigating a rape-and-murder case gradually loses all connection to reality. It should be interesting to watch just a few hours after Pandemonium (screening at 3 PM), a 1971 feature by trailblazing experimentalist Matsumoto Toshio, whose Funeral Parade of Roses also played in the series. Given the overlap between pink films and Japanese art cinema, I wouldn't be surprised if these movies had much in common.The Student Nurses, The Working Girls) successfully subverted the T & A movie to advance a progressive feminist agenda. And then there is the singular career of Russ Meyer, a great satirist and one of the most ingenious editors in American movies. Meyer's films dismantle hetero-male sex fantasies so effectively (and hilariously) that you can't really call them erotic, yet it's hard to imagine him thriving anywhere other than in sexploitation, which depended on the sort of imagery he skewered.
By coincidence Meyer's most famous film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1968), is also screening in town this weekend. The Music Box Theatre will show it on Friday and Saturday at midnight in a belated tribute to Roger Ebert, who wrote the screenplay. When pink-film director Mitsuru Meike introduced his film The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai at the Chicago International in 2005, I asked him if there were any American films or filmmakers with which he identified. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was the only one he could think of.