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Return of the Roman Porno

November 17 to November 24

Japan’s oldest major movie studio, 105-year-old Nikkatsu, was a powerhouse at the beginning of the 1960s, but by the end of the decade television had taken a big bite of their market share, and financial catastrophe threatened. Enter, in 1971, Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno softcore line, a low-expenditure high-yield product that effectively saved the studio. The formula was simple: a runtime not longer than eighty minutes, a sex act every ten or so, and a shoot not longer than a week. Other than this it was anything goes, and Roman Porno became an experiment-friendly training ground for a whole generation of risk-taking auteurs. The line was discontinued in 1988, finally sunk by home video competition, but in 2016 Nikkatsu invited five filmmakers to make new Roman Porno films according to the old rules, with anarchic results that did the tradition proud. Metrograph has two of the best, intelligent and erotomaniacal movies that are both serious and seriously funny about the business of sex.

Previously Screened