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Shinjuku Boys / Gaea Girls [DVD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Kim Longinotto
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Secondrun
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002T5QMJ2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,935 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Two documentaries from Kim Longinotto - exploring perceptions of female sexulaity in Japan. SHINJUKU BOYS reveals the Japanese 'onnabes' - women who live as men. The flm introduces three onnabes who work as hosts at the New Marilyn Club in Tokyo. GAEA GIRLS follows a group of Japanese women wrestlers.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Another great Kim Longinotto documentary double from Second Run. Last year they released her DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE and RUNAWAY to DVD, and now we get two of her Japanese docs. It's great that these documentaries are getting a new lease of life DVD.
GAEA GIRLS is a brutally unsentimental look at a group of young Japanese women who are training to become professional wrestlers and become part of the Gaea Girls - Japan's (then) most famous and toughest female wrestling troupe. Featuring wrestling superstar Chigusa Nagayo (ex-Crush Gals) who'll be familiar to any fan of the sport.
Sometimes hard-to-watch, this doc is more than a film about sport, it's about determination, pride and femininity.
SHINJUKU BOYS is even more fascinating, a look at the lives and dreams of a group of women who live their lives as men. Defined as 'onnabe', these women are strong individuals who are trying to find themselves a comfortable space in the world. They works as 'hosts' at a Tokyo nightclub where ostensibly straight women come to meet them. It's both challenging and charming, uncovering a previously 'hidden' world with warmth and understanding.
For those who love documentary, these films are a must!
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In these two documentaries Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams explore the options open to Japanese women who don't want to or can't conform to traditional expectations of femininity - which is ironic considering the fact that "Shinjuku Boys", one of the pair, was for me a gateway into an alternative way of doing masculinity when i saw it for the first time back in 1996.

SHINJUKU BOYS

The film follows three onnabe or 'women living as men' who make a living as hosts at a club in Tokyo. It is a mixture of fly-on-the-wall observation, narration and behind-the-camera interviews. This works well. The narration helps us put what we see in context, but isn't intrusive, and the interviews are done beautifully. In the most poignant moment of the whole documentary Gaish, the toughest of the three, interviewed in what appears to be his bedroom, gradually opens up and reveals the betrayal and rejection which has made him so angry and defensive.

Tatsu, one of the other 'women living as men' is actually a trans man or FTM (female-to-male transsexual). He's on hormones and appears to have been on them for some time (broken voice, etc) but doesn't appear to have had any surgery. He lives with a girlfriend whose family aren't happy about the fact: not because of any moral outrage at the idea but more because they won't be able to marry and have children. Tatsu was the first FTM i had ever seen and it's not an exaggeration to say that seeing and hearing him changed my life.

Finally, there's Kazuki who lives with a trans woman girlfriend in a semi-platonic relationship. Both Kazuki and Gaish are male-identified but more ambiguously than Tatsu. Neither of them are on hormones.
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Format: DVD
These films are both fascinating. As a japanophile I found them both riveting, sad, funny, inspiring. I desperately now want to see their film Dream Girls about the Takarazuka. I beg someone to please release it on DVD.
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