Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rika (1972)

Rika (1972)

March 15th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

When a young woman is raped by an American serviceman the result is Rika. Born into a world of vice and corruption, Rika is a one woman army. When she isn’t running her own all girl gang she GoGo dances for Japans mightiest crime bosses, fights against a social system in which she has no place and takes down anyone who gets in her way.

Rika is one entry into the popular Pinky genre of Japan. These films dealt with strong willed, violent female protagonists who take nothing lying down. The particular hook of this character is initially her Eurasian status, making her an other within Japanese society. The original US release title captures this more bluntly, Rika The Half Blood Girl. In this way the character is somewhat similar to 1973’s The Street Fighter starring Sonny Chiba. Also like it, Rika would spawn two direct sequels as her insane exploits only grow.

This film shares many of the hallmarks of Japanese 1970’s exploitation cinema. It is violent, sexualized, stylish and schizophrenic. Politics are thrown into the mix in the most general way, especially relating to the American forces stationed in Japan. An example of this is the relationship of another wayward young woman, the result of the relationship between a black serviceman and a Japanese woman. In her quest for identity, she falls in love with a Vietnam war deserter.

Even among Pinky films, Rika over the top and this is in a genre that would produce titles such as Terrifying Girls High School - Lynch Law Classroom. Rika is one of the most individualistic of them all, relentless in its oddity and proving popular enough to generate two sequels.

Japan, Director Ko Nakahira, Cast Rika Aoki, Kazuko Nagamoto, Masami Souda and Michi Nono, 92 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles

No comments: