Gate of Flesh

(Nikutai no mon)


Kayo Matsuo, Jo Shishido, Satoko Kasai, Yumiko Nogawa,

 “Do you know where I could find some work?” a dirtied teenage orphan asks a prostitute on the rubble-strewn streets of Japan. “Have you ever slept with a man?,” the woman responds, and the image jump-cuts to . . . the American flag: welcome to Seijun Suzuki’s Gate of Flesh, a riot of eye-popping color, cheerful nihilism, and anarchic energy that spares little in its wake. A group of whores takes in the girl, who quickly turns into a hard-boiled superheroine as tough—or tougher—than all of them, but the arrival of a muscle-bound, perpetually shirtless thug (Jo Shishido) soon messes with their survival and communal insticts. Unapologetic in its breathlessly baroque mix of violence, sex, and politics, this 1964 exploitation epic points the way towards Nikkatsu’s 1970s embrace of roman porno. “From the studio standpoint, they wanted an erotic movie,” Suzuki recalled; “women get stripped naked, tied and hung up by the wrists and beaten. But we had to deal with the motion picture ethics committee.”

Jason Sanders
  • Goro Tanada
Based On
  • A novel by Taijiro Tamura

  • Shigeyoshi Mine
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 'Scope 35mm
  • 90 mins
  • Nikkatsu
  • Janus Films/Criterion Collection