Tomorrow, November 1, the Pink Film Festival kicks off, and it is a bit unusual in that it’s targeted exclusively to women audiences. It’s also on the long side for a film festival, going all month until the final curtain falls on November 28.
The term “pink film” refers to sex-themed films and can be traced back to the 1960s, when the erotic cinema genre sprung up as mostly small-scale indie productions in Japan. With the rise of adult videos in the 1980s, the pink film genre experienced a decline, although it continues today. Although pink film (also called “eroduction,” as in erotic productions) can be described as softcore porn, it isn’t exactly equivalent with Western pornography.
The festival takes place in Seoul, but will go on a screening tour of other cities, including Busan, Daejon, and Paju.
The opening ceremony includes various Korean screenwriters and directors, and also welcomes some prominent Japanese pink filmmakers, including Zeze Takahisa and Sato Toshiki, who are often referred to as part of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Pink.” Others include Yoshiyuki Yumi, Sato Osamu, and Imaoka Shinji, who belong to the newest generation of pink filmmakers.
The festival is divided into four main sections, which are “The Four Heavenly Kings of Pink,” “Forefront of Pink,” “Pink Hardcore,” and “Screening Memories.” The films span a wide range of material and time periods, screening both works from earlier pink cinema and material from the current scene.
The festival will mostly be limited to female audiences, although Wednesdays are “couple days,” where men can come with their ladies. I’m not sure exactly why this festival is limited to females, but I’ll hazard the guess that pink film is less about blatant sex acts than, say, Western pornography. (Is it subversively feminist? I don’t know.) Pink cinema may be all about sex, but filmmakers been forced to be more creative in their expression as a result of early censorship laws and thus have developed an artistic character all their own.
(But this is just my speculation. Maybe they wanted to provide a safe atmosphere for women to watch sex films. Maybe it’s arbitrary. Or maybe it’s meant as an inclusive gesture (i.e., pro-woman) rather than an exclusive one. Any pink film aficionados in the house?)