Friday, December 4, 2009

Legends of Japanese Rock 'n' Roll Cinema: Burst City

A post-apocalyptic anarchist sci-fi film, Sogo Ishii’s Burst City (1982) is a punk rock homage to Mad Max, one made with a small budget and even less of a plot. I will admit though, my comprehension would have been better had I studied Japanese at a Tokyo motorcycle bar. The film stars a band of street gangs and three 80’s era Japanese punk bands, The Rockers, The Roosters, and The Stalin. Expect cheap grainy film stock, wild music, and a high rate of awesome leather jackets per capita. I’m tempted to throw my questions about cultural authenticity out the window. This film is more punk than punk itself. A scene where the lead singer of one of the bands throws a butchered pig’s head at a band of oncoming riot police immediately comes to mind.

The lack of a plot makes Burst City a bit hard to sit through, but the film is most definitely notable for its terrifically wild punk rock score and visionary eye-candy straight from the streets of the future. The film’s erratic narrative is said to have been inspired by the cacophony of punk music and culture. Burst City was highly innovative for it’s time and had a strong influence on many Japanese films to come. If you feel like giving the film a shot, you might be better off fast-forwarding to the sex scenes, urban muscle car races, and the real meat of this flick, the high-octane concert shots.

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