Vintage Pulp Nov 3 2019
PARTY OF FIVE
When the going gets tough the smart leave town.


You see what we mean about roman porno posters? How can we not share something this pretty? And if we share the poster we have to watch the movie, at least to have an idea what the art is about. And the movies? Well, they've been a years-long exploration into some deep dark places. Other people's, not ours. This poster was made to promote Pinku saron: Kôshoku gonin onna, aka Pink Salon: Five Lewd Women, which premiered in Japan today in 1978. You've noticed by now that many of these films were based on novels. It wasn't just cinema that was delving into challenging themes during the ’70s. But this, surprisingly, is based on a work of anthological fiction written by Saikaku Ihara in 1686, during Japan's Edo period.

Broadly speaking the plot deals with the struggles of five women—Kyôko Aoyama, Erina Miyai, Eiko Matsuda, Machiko Ohtani, and Miyako Yamaguchi—who work in Tokyo's strip clubs, or pink salons. Obviously, the stories in Ihara's source material have been moved forward three centuries to the grey, concrete Tokyo you see in so many Japanese films from the ’70s. These pink salon workers aren't satisfied with their lives, and what develops is a sort of counterculture road trip film, as they and a few male companions drive from Tokyo to Otoko in a graffiti covered microbus. Do they find a better place in the world? You'll have to watch the movie yourself. But you can be certain that, as in most cinema about misfit dreamers and restless outcasts, the odds are against them and the errors of the past are not far behind.

Pink Saron has sex but no fetish, and violence but little gore, so we wonder if the age of the source material has anything to do with that. Nikkatsu Studios usually pushed its roman porno movies beyond the far edge of good taste, but not this time, and it was rewarded for its restraint. Pink Saron won Noboru Tanaka a Japan Academy Film Prize for best director—the first time a roman porno film had been thus honored. Yes, this movie is something a little different. We'd like to say it's appropriate for those seeking an entry point into the genre, but it's so different from most it would only mislead you. And next thing you know you'll find yourself watching women chained up in dungeons. So consider this a stand alone film. A pretty good one.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 12
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
June 11
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
June 10
1935—AA Founded
In New York City, Dr. Robert Smith and William Griffith Wilson, who were both recovering alcoholics, establish the organization Alcoholics Anonymous, which pioneers a 12-step rehabilitation program that is so helpful and popular it eventually spreads to every corner of the globe.
1973—John Paul Getty III Is Kidnapped
John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Rome, Italy. The elder Getty ignores a ransom demand for $17 million, thinking it is a joke. When John Paul's ear later arrives in the mail along with a note promising further mutilation, he negotiates the ransom down to $2.9 million, which he pays only on the condition that John Paul repay him at four percent interest. Getty's kidnappers are never caught.
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