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Flesh and Blood: The Guinea Pig Films

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The Japanese V-Cinema Guinea Pig (Za Ginipiggu) series (1985-1988) are often seen by critics such as Sharp, as indicative of the worse excesses of Japanese cinema. Given the nature of the films and their limited availability, it is not surprising that there has been little critical discussion of the series. Existing critical approaches are sharply split between those critics who seek to legitimize the films as contesting the dominant ideology of Japanese national cinema at the time (McRoy, 2008: 15-47) and/or in terms of cinematic technique (Hunter, 1998: 143-150), and those that interpret the films in much the same way as Sharp does (Galloway, 2006: 178). The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the gender politics of the Guinea Pig films as it is the female body -- more often than not -- that is clinically dissected, violated, and exploited for the [male] gaze in the Guinea Pig series. Secondly, the paper considers how the mechanics by the Guinea Pig films are marketed in the West as in opposition to the mainstream in order to anchor their “underground” and “cult” status at a time when Asian cinema had been branded as “Extreme.”
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Keywords: Mondo; Pink Film; cult cinema; gender; genre; guinea pig

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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