Filmart: Leading Japanese Directors Join 'Roman Porno' Reboot (Exclusive)

Hideo Nakata

Nikkatsu's big-screen soft-porn productions are to be relaunched with five Japanese helmers taking charge of the first slate of releases.

Five leading Japanese directors, including Hideo Nakata (The Ring) and festival favorite Sion Sono, are to helm a film each for the relaunch of Nikkatsu's Roman Porno soft-core series.

More than 1,100 of the series, referred to as Roman Porno in Japan, were released in theaters by Nikkatsu in the '70s and '80s. Filmmakers were given creative freedom once the sex-scene criteria were met and helped launch the careers of a number of top Japanese directors, including Yojiro Takita, who went on to make Oscar-winner Departures, and Masayuki Suo (Shall We Dance?). 

Their appeal waned with the spread of homevideo pornography, and the final film was released in 1988.

''I entered Nikkatsu film studios in the mid '80s as I admired hundreds of Roman Porno movies, which could be very romantic, energetic and artistic,'' Nakata told The Hollywood Reporter.

''Now that every kind of hard-core porn is available on the Internet, I wanted to make a 'New Wave Roman Porno' film which appeals visually, emotionally and sensually to the modern audience,'' he added.

Nakata's film will be a lesbian story, while Sono's is to be themed 'art.' In addition, Isao Yukisada (Crying Out Love in the Center of the World), Akihiko Shiota (Canary) and Kazuya Shiraishi (Devil's Path) will helm productions.

The series is being launched in conjunction with satellite network SKY PerfecTV, which will show the films on one of its channels.  

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