964 Pinocchio Review

Movie: 964 Pinocchio
By: Maniac E
Date: June 4, 2012

Curio of the Japanese underground

In the late eighties and early nineties, after the unusually immense popularity of Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo The Iron Man, the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre kicked its output into high gear. Shozin Fukui is one of Japan's hidden cyberpunk talents. After a period of experimentation that resulted in three short films, he burst onto the scene with his first full-length feature film: 964 Pinocchio.

So what exactly is 964 Pinocchio? Good question. The film begins when a manufactured sex slave (Hage Suzuki) is discarded by his clients (a pair of gothed out lesbians lunatics who periodically reappear throughout the film to add some lovely kinky hotness to the proceedings) and expelled from the strange brothel in which he is employed, unbeknownst to the owners of the fine establishment. This pasty bald guy ends up falling on a young woman named Himiko (Onn Chan) who is sitting on the street people watching one afternoon. Himiko feels sorry for the strange little guy and takes him back to her place a dark room in an abandoned factory or warehouse.

964 Pinocchio

As Himiko brings him back to health, she finds his name is Pinocchio and teaches him to communicate beginning with his name, then her name, then a few other basic words and sentences. One night, they finally have sex, and here's where the movie takes a drastic turn into 'huh?' territory. After they've bumped uglies and swapped spit, Humiko's treatment of Pinocchio begins to change quite drastically. Whereas she was kind and sympathetic to him, she now chains him up and abuses him verbally and physically, claiming that he is now her property. While all this has been going on, Pinocchio's creators have found that he's gone missing and in turn send out a few employees to look for him. They're supposed to bring him back to work, but he's changed now and so has Humiko.

964 Pinocchio

It's not what you call a very accessible film, probably one of the most relentless films I know, but cyberpunk fans really owe it to themselves to check it out as it takes the whole punk atmosphere to a new level. The effects make use of some rather strange stop motion animation as characters explode blood and all manner of colorful bodily fluids out of various orifices while Shozin Fukui's direction ramps itself up with swirling cameras, extreme close ups, and rapid fire editing that wouldn't feel out of place in a late nineties industrial music video.

964 Pinocchio

Everything that goes on in this crazy, intense, and insane film just works. It has all the good stuff in it like: sex, violence, vomit, degradation and humor. Yes, in an odd way there is humor to be found in this cyberpunk piece which makes sure you won't forget this ride in a long time. The acting is... expressive. There is no room for subtlety or smaller emotions. Everything is grand, from simple gestures to facial expressions. It fits the film and helps to increase the overall madness, then again if you can't get into the film it will only add to the overall frustration. There's also a certain manga-like quality to the characters (964's creator in particular) that might make it harder for Western audiences to get a grip on this film.

964 Pinocchio

While I can pretty much guarantee that this film will alienate at least seventy five percent of the people who will read this review, I still can't hesitate to recommend this film. Less of a movie and more of a narrative experience, it's an excruciating strange movie that builds and builds and finally unloads on you in its almost pornographic excess. If you're not sure whether this film will appeal to you it's probably better to check out films like Tetsuo or Electric Dragon 80000V first, if you're a seasoned cyberpunk fan and you haven't seen this though it's a 100% recommendation. Just know what you're getting yourself into.



964 Pinocchio


964 Pinocchio


Shozin Fukui






Haji Suzuki, Onn-chan and Kyoko Hara