Hell Bento: Uncovering the Japanese Underground (1995)

An exploration of underground Japanese counter-culture.


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Credited cast:
The's The's ... Themselves
Masami Akita Masami Akita ... Self (as Merzbow)
Jet Boys Jet Boys ... Themselves
Sachiko Fujii ... Self - The 5, 6, 7, 8's (as Sachiko)
Ronnie Yoshiko Fujiyama ... Self - The 5, 6, 7, 8's (as Yoshiko)
Akaji Maro ... Self - Butoh Dancer
Akiko Omo Akiko Omo ... Self - The 5, 6, 7, 8's (as Screaming Chellio Panther)
Guitar Wolf ... Self (as Guitar Wolfe)
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Recounting the testimonies of those who are stubbornly "left behind" or considered as deviant or on the margins of the Japanese society of the 90s, Hell Bento stands as a true kaleidoscope of all these subcultures. With little means, DIY and modest staging, the protagonists are the very actors of this culture polarized by a society still traumatized by the failure of WW2 and suffering from a difficult economic period known as "Japan's Lost Decade". "Hell Bento" is segmented into several parts: gender, family, art, speed, money and nation. The film profiles the LGBTQ community, the Yakuza and the mythic 5678s band - an embodiment of Western infatuation. It also focuses on the homeless crisis, the underground music scene and even the wave of pessimism at the origin of a new nationalist wave in favour of the return of traditional Japan. The interviews and testimonies are as touching as they are cynical. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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Did You Know?


Features Midori (1992) See more »


I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield
Written by Sachiko Fujii, Ronnie Yoshiko Fujiyama, Akiko Omo
Performed by The's
Drums, Backing Vocals by Sachiko Fujii
Guitar, Vocals, Voice [Shout] by Ronnie Yoshiko Fujiyama
Bass, Backing Vocals, Voice [Scream] by Akiko Omo
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English | Japanese

Release Date:

12 December 1995 (Australia) See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Japan See more »

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