Gushing Prayer

by Peter@REM

The most cryptic and formally radical pink film from the most politically radical director ever to work in the field ... – Mark Schilling

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A film by Masao Adachi
1971

Yasuko, Yôichi, Kôichi and Bill are four high-school students who, in order to escape from their overwhelming sense of restlessness and alienation from the world around them, indulge in group sex to explore whether they can forge their own path liberated from a corrupt adult society. After revealing she has had an affair with her teacher, Yasuko is driven by the goading encouragement of her peers to feel what it is like to be a prostitute, with sex reduced to a mere economic transaction and not something to be engaged in for pleasure. She sets out an odyssey of self-exploration in search of complete satiation, with the final goal being to see whether she can “beat” sex.

The most cryptic and formally radical pink film from the most politically radical director ever to work in the field, the mesmerising Gushing Prayer deploys actual suicide notes and a haunting acoustic guitar refrain by folk musician Minami Masato to unsettling effect to express the spiritual and political left vacuum in the wake of the failed student movements of the 1960s. The cinematography by Wakamatsu Pro regular Itô Hideo, who also shot Ôshima Nagisha’s notorious In the Realm of the Senses (1976), captures the landscapes of Shinjuku through an intriguing melding of the documentary with the cinematic. The heart of Tokyo counterculture hums with performances by experimental theatre troupes and, contrastingly, real-life scenes of jeeps and tanks crawling through the streets as a reminder of just how strong the anti-terrorist police presence was in Tokyo at the turn of the decade. The part-colour format adopted by many pink films from the late 1960s to early 1970s is also used to particularly startling effect.

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