Michio Okabe's Crazy Love

In Partnership with Collaborative Cataloging Japan

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Collaborative Cataloging Japan, in partnership with Lightbox Film Center, is pleased to welcome curator Akihiro Suzuki to organize two special online screenings of films by Michio Okabe in November and December. The first program is the feature length Crazy Love, a work packed with Okabe’s original sense of camp aesthetic.

Shot in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo in 1968 when the underground renaissance was blossoming and the excitement of revolution and liberation was in the air, Crazy Love is a portrait of the period. Spilling out of the established norm, Crazy Love is a collage of underground pursuits such as Zero Jigen’s (Zero Dimension) happening on the street, Genpei Akasegawa’s fake bill, a butoh dancer’s intervention in an ordinary scene, a march by futen (hippies), sexual expressions, and parodies of commercial film and advertisements. The film’s pulse is the music of the masses such as rock, Japanese and foreign popular music, and film scores. The performers are “crazy” stars of the underground scene that Okabe revered. The era’s darlings such as Rikuro Miyai, Gulliver, Tamio Suenaga, Yasunao Tone, Kenji Kanesaka, and Jushin Sato perform as eccentric characters, and other members of the underground scene appear as themselves. Okabe himself also joyfully acts out the roles such as Django and James Bond. Everything seems like a hoax, while at the same time delivering a portrait of the moment. This twisted realism is the campy art of Michio Okabe.

An unusually voluminous work for an underground film made on 16mm and running 98 minutes, this work is packed with Okabe’s original camp aesthetic with inclusion of the deviation from common sense, the abandonment of the narrative, the confusion of fiction and documentary, the active incorporation of outtakes, and the denial of professionalism. Just as Okabe described this work as “a kind of youth film,” the youthful free spirit that overflows from this piece continues to resonate. (Michio Okabe, Japan, 1968, 16mm transferred to video, 97 min.) In Japanese with English subtitles

About the Curator
Born in 1961, Akihiro Suzuki is a producer and filmmaker who predominantly works in the fields of sexuality- and underground culture-related projects, and has directed, distributed, produced, and organized film festivals and screenings. He is also the director of S.I.G. Inc. Representative directorial works include Looking for an Angel (1999), Lunar Child (2009) and Artaud Double (2013), a film of the performance by Masahiko Akuta and Ko Murobushi. Production projects include I Like You, I Like You Very Much(directed by Hiroyuki Oki) and Syabondama Elegy (directed by Ian Kerkhof). Film festival projects include the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Underground Archives, among others.