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FilMart: Nikkatsu Reinvents ‘Roman Porno’

Five of Japan’s top directors — Sion Sono and Hideo Nakata among them — will make short features in the classic “Nikkatsu Roman Porno” format for theatrical release and TV broadcast, Nikkatsu has revealed.

Other directors for the “Roman Porno Reboot Project” are Akihiko Shiota, Kazuya Shiraishi and Isao Yukisada.

All will be given the same budget and be required to shoot their films within one week, with running times of 70 to 80 minutes. Exact titles and release schedules have yet to be decided.

In the 1970s and 1980s the Nikkatsu Roman Porno genre, which allowed directors wide latitude if they included a certain number of sex scenes in their films, was the launching pad for many now-prominent Japanese filmmakers, including Yojiro Takita, director of the Oscar winner “Departures.”

The new films will be released theatrically starting this winter and will also be offered to subscribers on the SkyPerfecTV! satellite platform.

The new series marks the 45 years since the 1971 start of “Nikkatsu Roman Porno,” when the venerable Nikkatsu studio was facing bankruptcy and decided to shift production to feature-length softcore porn. It made the films using studio resources and young studio-trained directors.

The studio cranked out nearly 1,100 titles before ending production of the genre in 1988 under pressure from the flood of straight-to-video adult films.

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