Friday, February 26, 2010


Cleopatra: Queen of Sex / Kleopatra – en skön historia. JP 1970. PC: Mushi Productions. P: Yasuhiko Yoneyama. D: Osamu Tezuka, Eiichi Yamamoto. SC: Shigemi Satoyoshi – based on the story by Osamu Tezuka. DP: Katsuharu Misawa – Eastmancolor – 2,35:1. AN: Kanji Akabori, Hideo Furusawa, Masami Hata, Teruhito Kamiguchi, Renzo Kinoshita, Kazuko Nakamura, Tatsuo Shimamura. M: Isao Tomita. ED: Masashi Furukawa. Voices: Chinatsu Nakayama (Cleopatra), Kotoe Hatsui (Apolodria), Tsubame Yanagiya (Lupa), Nobuo Tsukamoto (Ionius), Kazuko Imai (Calpurnia), Susumu Abe (Kabagonis), Yoshiro Kato (lt. Tarabach), Nachi Nozawa (Octavianus), Harjime Hana (Julius Caesar), Osami Nabe (Marcus Antonius), Jitsuko Yoshimura (Lybia). 112 min, 100 min, 97 min, this print 89 min. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 26 Feb 2010.

Vintage print with a beautiful definition of colour. Reportedly the first erotic feature anime, with wonderfully versatile animation, the visual register ranging from realism to abstraction, with many visual styles on display. A spoof of the Cleopatra story, maybe inspired by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's bande dessinée Astérix et Cléopâtre (1963/1965). Highlights include the slapstick impression of Cleopatra's magic vagina that gives burns to the probing finger, Cleopatra's plastic surgery ("real flowers wither, fake flowers are eternal"), her being smuggled naked in a sack to Julius Caesar, Caesar's pageant in Rome, the gladiator battle at the arena (against a giant whose mere stomping at the ground is enough to topple the hero), Cleopatra soothing Marcus Antonius insecure of his endowment (demonstrating that a little banana is tastier than a big banana), the Egyptian women's sex sabotage of the Roman invasors (the houses that swing in the night), the highly stylized naval battle with jokey montages of stills, Cleopatra's final seduction attempt thwarted because the gay Octavianus is interested in the hunky gladiator only, Cleopatra stung by the snake at the hotel of death, the final image of the pyramid. The sex scenes are abstract, unique and intriguing, each with a completely different visual concept. The hallucinations are inventively created. The music is original and charming.

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