2014 PiFan Fetes Godzilla's 60th Anniversary, Tinto Brass's Eroticism

9:18 PM PST 07/17/2014 by Lee Hyo-won
Warner Bros. Pictures

The South Korean genre film event is holding special showcases on the Japanese monster — which had been officially banned there for political reasons until the mid-1990s — and the Italian maestro of erotic cinema.

BUCHEON, South Korea — The Puchon (Bucheon) International Film Festival (PiFan) has long been reputed as one of Asia's biggest showcase for quirky genre films, and its 18th edition is pushing more boundaries by spotlighting two icons of local "taboos": Godzilla and Tinto Brass.

Though Godzilla has long been a cinematic legend around the world, the Japanese monster did not gain much attention there due to a former national policy until the mid-1990s that banned cultural imports from Japan, says PiFan programmer Alice Yoo, as the neighboring Asian country's brutal colonization of Korea (1910-45) continues to live on in the memories of many Koreans (Justin Bieber ignited nationwide protest after visiting a Tokyo shrine where Japanese World War II war criminals are buried).

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In time for the 60th anniversary of the original Godzilla by Ishiro Honda, PiFan will present the 1954 film and six other titles in the franchise from the 1960s-'80s and the 2004 Godzilla: Final Wars.

For the 1 p.m. screening of Godzilla on July 19, three local experts including producer Kim Taek-gyu, Big Monster chief editor Hong Ki-hoo, and Cinefringe chief editor Kim Song-ho, will hold talks on how the Godzilla series has evolved over the years and influenced other creature films. The panel will also discuss how the franchise had inspired a cult following among Korean creature film fans despite the ban of Japanese cultural products.

For the 2.p.m. showing of the same 1954 original film on July 24, Takeda Yasutaka, art department head of Seoul's Japan Foundation, will introduce fans to the musical world of Akikura Ifukube, the composer of Godzilla's iconic film score.

The Italian director Tinto Brass on the other has often been misunderstood and associated as being a voyeur, pornographer and debauchee. PiFan presents a retrospective of his work, featuring six of his trademark titles including Deadly Sweet (1967), The Howl (1968), Salon Kitty (1976), Caligula (1979), All Ladies Do It (1992) and Do It! (2003), as well as a 2014 documentary on the master filmmaker, Itstintobrass by Massimiliano Zanin.

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"This retrospective is a wonderful opportunity to realize [that Tinto Brass] is much more than just 'tits and asses' director; that in fact, he deserves to be recognized as an erotic genius and an artist extraordinaire of sensuality," said Jongsuk Thomas Nam, managing director of PiFan's Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF).

Following the midnight screening of Caligula on July 19, Italian actress Caterina Varzi and film historian Sandro Cappelli, both colleagues of Brass, will host a talk about how the filmmaker tiptoes the boundary between eroticism and perversion.

Advance online tickets for over many of PiFan's film screenings have already been sold out, but on-site sales are still are still open. PiFan continues through July 27.

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