Director: Kinuyo Tanaka
Runtime: 93 minutes
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
In her second and final collaboration with screenwriter Sumie Tanaka, who wrote Forever a Woman, Kinuyo Tanaka revisits the archetype of the panpan, which she first explored in her debut feature Love Letter. Released a few years after the damning Prostitution Prevention Law of 1956, Girls of Dark centres around Kuniko, a young woman living in one of Japan’s newly established correctional facilities for former sex workers. Battling prejudice and overcoming demons from the past, she strives to construct a new life for herself.
In the 1960s, Japanese cinema started to evolve with the emergence of younger new wave directors such as Nagisa Oshima and Masahiro Shinoda, who were departing from the star-centred, plot-driven melodramas of the past, and towards more socially conscious stories. Girls of Dark sees Tanaka, while still drawing upon the tradition of women’s films, adopting a grittier style of filmmaking that displays an uncompromising critique of post-war society and a bold celebration of female kinship and tenacity.
Retrospective: Kinuyo Tanaka is held in conjunction with Japanese Film Festival Singapore, and has been made possible with the generous support of the Japan Foundation.
For the full Retrospective: Kinuyo Tanaka programme, please visit here.
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