Somai Shinji × 3
Screening Dates
  • November 5, 2023 6:00
  • November 10, 2023 9:00
  • November 13, 2023 8:30
New Restoration

A breakout work … A self-conscious farce that is both childish and epic, [Sailor Suit and Machine Gun] allegorizes the tensions and contradictions of Japan’s idol culture.”

Emerson Goo, Film Comment

Despite the precipitous decline of the Japanese film industry of the 80s, Somai Shinji found the resources to ignite an auspicious beginning for his coming-of-age cinema. Sailor Suit and Machine Gun, a slightly askew portrait of a downtrodden yakuza clan, was intended as a star vehicle for teen idol Yakushimaru Hiroko (School in the Crosshairs, W’s Tragedy), and on this count Somai delivered a genuine hit, albeit one that wears its underworld plot like a mask, delaying any straightforward genre satisfaction until the film’s final act. Somai’s true interest is in the way unlikely schoolgirl-turned-yakuza boss Hoshi Izumi and her crew (the two uniform pieces of the title) imprint a new moral code on the other, and how this brings the heroine closer to the independent Mayumi (Kazamatsuri Yuki), her father’s former mistress, now Izumi’s unofficial guardian. Elaborate, seemingly spontaneous long takes join these worlds together; the cinematography is by Sengen Seizo (Oshima’s Boy).

In Japanese with English subtitles

No ordinary teen film … Though a title like Sailor Suit and Machine Gun draws [certain] expectations, the film deals with serious emotional issues.”

Luk Van Haute, Film International