Matsu, known to the prisoners as Scorpion, is locked away in the bowels of the prison as revenge for disrupting the smooth operation of the prison and for her disfiguring attack on the ... See full summary »
Matsu, known to the prisoners as Scorpion, is locked away in the bowels of the prison as revenge for disrupting the smooth operation of the prison and for her disfiguring attack on the warden. Granted a one day reprieve due to the visit of a dignitary, she takes advantage and attacks the warden again. This leads to more brutal punishment and humiliation. But the punishment gives her an opportunity to escape along with six other female prisoners. Their surreal flight from prison pits the convicts against the guards, the warden and each other. Written by
The Second, And Most Surreal "Sasori" Film - Ingenious!
After beginning the brilliant "Sasori" series starring the great Meiko Kaji, with "Joshuu 701-gô: Sasori" in 1972, director Shunya Ito carried on to make this first sequel, "Joshuu Sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bô" aka. "Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41", which comes very close to the brilliance of the first part. "Sasori: Jailhouse 41", as it is called where i live, is easily the most surreal of all Sasori films. As the first part, this is THE perfect proof that it is possible to make Exploitation and Art-house cinema at the same time. Brutal and beautiful, sleazy and visually stunning, full of violence as well as full of symbolism, "Jailhouse 41" is another true gem of Exploitation-Art.
After disrupting a prison ceremony, which was to impress a government official, Female prisoner 701, Nami Matsushima aka. "Sasori" (Meiko Kaji) is tortured and abused even heavier than usual on behalf of the sadistic Inspector Goda (Fumio Watanbe). Sasori endures the torture with her usual stamina, and takes the first chance to escape with six other female prisoners...
As the first film, "Jailhouse 41" is again very violent. This film, however, is by far the most surreal of the entire series. Brutal tortures, murders and rapes are featured as well as visually stunning artistic elements, symbolism, and dream-like sequences. The stunningly beautiful Meiko Kaji is once again brilliant in her role of Sasori, I simply lack the words to express my admiration for this wonderful actress. Fumio Watanbe is also excellent and wonderfully sadistic as Inspector Goda. The rest of the performances are also great, especially the women who play the six other escapees are very good in their roles. As the first part and the sequels to follow, the main theme song is the iconic "Urami-Bushi", which Kaji, who is not only a brilliant actress but also a wonderful singer, sings herself.
Personally, I still prefer the first "Sasori" film, and the third part "Joshuu sasori: Kemono-beya" aka. "Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable" (1973), which is arguably the best of them all. However, "Jailhouse 41" is doubtlessly a masterpiece too, and there probably little point in arguing which of these fantastic films is No. 1. The entire "Sasori" series is an absolutely outstanding highlight of exploitation cinema, and "Jailhouse 41" is ingenious in every aspect. This is a must-see for my fellow fans of Exploitation cinema and Art-house cinema alike, and a cinematic highlight that is highly recommendable to all lovers of cult-cinema!
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