√964 PINOCCHIO (1991)

Directed by: Shozin Fukui
Written by: Shozin Fukui, Makoto Hamaguchi, Naoshi Gôda
Stars: Haji Suzuki, Onn-chan, Kôji Ôtsubo... read more

Year: 1991
Genrer: Cyberpunk, Horror, SciFi
Run time: 1h 37 min
My rating: 4 out of 5

During the late eighties the Japanese director and screenwriter Shin'ya Tsukamoto baffled  us viewers with a technically new film genres formally based on previous anime films and manga series. Yes, I'm talking about "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" that one would set a new Japanese film trend. Two years after, director Shozin Fukui hooked onto the trend and gave us the film 964 Pinocchio, a Japanese cyberpunk film that deals with the theme of "brain-modified sex slaves" as well as mental disorders from a hallucinogenic ethos. This was one of the most strangest films I've ever seen.

Pinocchio is a modified sex slave thrown out by his owners for failing to maintain an erection. It's unclear in what way he has been modified in view of his severe communication skills and his memory loss. He was discovered by Himiko one day when he wandered aimlessly through the city. Himiko takes Pinocchio home and tries to teach him speak. After much work, he makes a breakthrough and finally becomes aware of his situation. At this point his body breaks out in an inexplicable metamorphosis and it's clearly seen that his changes were much more involved and esoteric than the actual memory loss in itself. Himiko also starts to be converted, but in a more subtle way.

This is a crazy and very intense film that should not be confused with Walt Disney's children's version of Pinocchio. This release includes sex, violence, vomit, humiliation and humor. The film's spectacle is expressive and very nicely implemented and there is no room for subtlety or less emotion. Everything is magnificent, from simple gestures to facial expressions. It fits the film and helps to increase the overall madness that the film possesses. There is also a manga-like quality to the characters, which can make it harder for Western audiences to understand this movie.

I would not call this an easily digestible film, this is probably one of the most uncompromising films I've ever seen, but today's cyberpunk fans really need to give the film a chance, because it takes the whole punk atmosphere to a new level. The effects are tied up with stop motion animation and exploding blood and all sorts of colorful body fluids of different openings, while the director Shozin Fukui directional ramps up with swirling cameras, extreme close-ups and quick editing that makes you feel at home in the late nineties industrial music videos.

I can guarantee that this film will shock least seventy-five percent of you people who give the film a chance. 964 Pinocchio will melt your brain. It is a creative, unique, and downright crazy movie that really is not for everyone, but it is rewarding, intense, and it is recommended to those who are willing to let you be brain modified during an hour and a half. Give the movie a chance!

The film is among others released on DVD by the American infamous distributor Unearthed Films and includes among others an interview with the director, as well as his earlier short film "Caterpillar" from 1988. You will also find an exclusive photo gallery from 964 Pinocchio, and trailers from earlier Unearthed Films releases.


Produced by: ?
Cinematography by: Kazunori Hirasawa
Editing by: Shozin Fukui
Special Effects by: Moore Brian
Music by: Hiroyuki Nagashima
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Color: Color | Black and white

Distributor: Unearthed Films