Yes, he films sex. Nearly always there are men and women having sex. Often they speak of war, of ethical conflict or of politics while kissing, while wishing each other. At other times it is a fetish, a trance, or perverse, masochistic and violent sex. But is there no politics in enjoyment?

He is Koji Wakamatsu. Born in 1936, in Wakuya, Japan. This whole story started 45 years ago. Making films. And he started with one that had many sex scenes, for the Japanese major movie studio Nikkatsu. He directed 20 films of that genre between 1963 and 1965, becoming one of the most famous directors of pinku eiga or pink films, typically Japanese low budget erotic films. For a long time pink films – one of the most well kept secrets of that country – were not distributed to other countries. They spoke of the sexual taboos, fantasies and fetishes of Japanese society, sustaining the forbidden/permitted, sex/politics, perversion/violence dualities and creating rules: no explicit sex or frontal nudes, especially male, of course.

Wakamatsu, however, always added radical, political and esthetic elements, going beyond being merely a traditional director of pink films. In fact, nothing is traditional in Koji. He is first and foremost an anarchist in peace with the art of making cinema. Just watch and look at the elaborated planes, beautiful music, the photography, and the explosion of the violence of desire and war.

His creative freedom was driven by a scandal. In 1965, the Berlin Festival selected the film “Secrets Behind the Wall,” generating a diplomatic issue. How is it that an essentially pinku eiga film leaves Japan and is shown representing that country’s cinema in Europe? At this point Wakamatsu creates his company – Wakamatsu Productions – and frenetically and freely makes over 100 films.

The first film of his new company is “The Embryo Hunts in Secret” (1966). Wakamatsu likes to cite this film as one of his favorites; it deals with the essence of power in a relationship between a man and a woman. “Go, Go Second Time Virgin” (1969), a cult movie, was filmed on the roof of his company and has a special soundtrack. ”Ecstasy of the Angels” (1972) is a provocative film, an example of how Wakamatsu explores sex and political radicalism. Both films are landmarks of his partnership with Masao Adachi.

Out of his more recent production – much more political and critical of Japanese society – INDIE will show the lyrical “Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes of the Boy Saw” (2004) and his latest film “United Red Army,” which shows in over 3 hours – using archived images, reconstitution and fiction – an important moment of Japanese militant terrorism.

Leaning about Koji Wakamatsu’s films is to discover a filmmaker who lives productively on the fringe of markets, empires and trends; it is to learn about the work of a fearless and free man.

“In the beginning, eroticism was a strategic decision that allowed me to make the films I wanted to make. But I soon understood that I could use them as an important tool to develop my own point of view; what had been only an obligation became useful for me” *

“The reason why my films are political is that I did not decide to start throwing grenades. Through the cinema I try, regardless of anything, to be politically active – to show spectators that the government places a gun on their heads.” *

“I think that it was best to have such a scandal, with two very polarized opinions, rather than see everyone agreeing. Consensus is boring. It truly fascinated me to watch such a variety of reactions. When I watch now how people react to my new film "United Red Army," which everyone think as "interesting," I admit feeling disappointed.” **

* Excerpts from an interview with Jean-Pierre Bouyxou. Published in Sex Star System n°14 (1976). (Available on the website

** Interview with Tom Mes, of the website Midnight Eye, commenting the inflamed reactions to the film The Embryo Hunts in Secret at the time it was shown. (