Hands up if you can tell me what these two films have in common.
The former is this year's recipient of the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
The latter, Serial Rape (Renzoku Boko) is a dark, grim, gritty pink film from '83.
In my fertilecelluloid review of the film on imdb in January, 2005, I could barely contain my enthusiasm for it:
A cinema projectionist (Ren Osugi) becomes obsessed with the female writer of a rape-themed film.
The writer witnesses (shown in flashback) a rape by a tattooed man when she was just a moppet.
From this simple premise erupts a nasty, erotic, tightly directed "abuse" flick.
This has something for everyone and is beautifully shot and lit. The surreal opening sequence of a rapist chasing a schoolgirl through a tunnel establishes the grim, almost industrial tone.
There is much (white) panty fondling during the attack sequences and the level of viciousness is refreshingly high.
A gentle lesbian seduction in a bathroom is volcanic for what it suggests, as is the extended, off-the-meter lesbian tryst that follows.
Actress Kaoru Orimoto, who plays the pink film scriptwriter and target of Osugi's obsession, is incredibly hot and has the body and face of a goddess.
There are many reasons to hunt Serial Rape (Renzaku Boko) down.
A fog-filled sequence in a forest where our "hero" disposes of a beautiful dead body is gorgeously shot and directed.
Another highlight is a rape sequence that takes place in a front of a giant movie screen where a similar act of transgression is being shown.
The director pushes the boundaries towards the film's climax when he has Osugi burning a woman's crotch with his lighter moments before she blinds him and watches him plummet to his well-deserved death.
Osugi (who went on to a sparkling career working with such luminaries as Takeshi Kitano; he was the wheelchair-bound Horibe in Hanna-Bi) is entirely convincing as the twisted miscreant projectionist.
Not for the knee-jerk crowd, but certainly a prize find for the true believers.
The 2008 Departures (Okuibito) was up against The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany), The Class (France), Revanche (Austria) and Waltz With Bashir (Israel).
Director Yojiro Takita's receipt of the Oscar signifies a triumph never celebrated before.
It is a mighty win for the Pink Team.
Yes, I received an urgent message from Japanese director Tomoaki (Weatherwoman) Hosoyama informing me that Takita's victory is being celebrated in Japan's pink film industry.
Fifty-four-year old director Takita is not just the man of the foreign film hour, he is also the talent behind Serial Rape (Renzoku Boko) and more than forty other feature films, many of them proudly pink.
Conceding that Departures is a more conservative film for Takita, Mr. Hosoyama, who once worked for the director in a behind-the-scenes capacity, wrote: "Now in Japan, Takita has become the man of the hour. I know he is giving a wry grin. He has never been interested in getting prizes. He has the spirit of a true workman in making films. That's what I respect about him."
It is, indeed, a terrific honor for Mr. Takita, and a sobering reminder once again that -- in Japan, at least -- the trenches of the softcore film industry are a fertile breeding ground for tomorrow's movers and shakers in cinema.
Congratulations, Mr. Takita, you are a true Apostle of Pulp.