CLEOPATRA or CLEOPATRA: QUEEN OF SEX (American Title) will have its UK Premiere at the 2nd London East Asian Film Festival 2017 on October 22nd at Picturehouse Central at 7pm. It will then be shown at the London International Animation Festival on December 2nd at The Barbican at 9pm. It is also due to release on DVD and Bluray by Third Window Films in Spring 2018. CLEOPATRA Is A Classic Erotic Animated Masterpiece
Cleopatra, directed by Osamu Tezuka, the Godfather of Manga, and Eichii Yamamoto was first released in 1970. Animes in Japan were at their peak at that time, which included all sorts of genres which included action, comedy, thriller and so on. The only genre that was not focused upon was the Erotic one. Although surely, there were animes dealing with a bit of erotic themes within them, but full features were not made until A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS was released in 1969. It was considered the first X-rated film and remains as one of the longest ever animated feature with the duration of 130 minutes. Cleopatra is second in number.Cleopatra is a story told again and again ever since Shakespeare first wrote it. The Queen of Egypt has been immortalised by theatrical plays, tv series and features all showing their own interpretion of her life and circumstances she was surrounded with. In this animated feature, her persona has been shown as a very strong woman, who with her sexual power lures powerful men into her arms and alters the course of history through politics and wars by using them. She herself is infact a reflection of men, a caricature of those whose lust for power never ends. But as she goes on, she slowly becomes a mockery of herself until she realises that what ever she has been trying to gain is slowly getting out of her hands.
Although the theme is erotic, it has nothing explicit in it except that bare breasted women are shown throughout. The sex scenes are abstract art styled portraits in motion. They at times have no sound and at times have a single musical instrument faintly heard in the back, but there are moments when soft sitar and Japanese folk styled music is added in. Much of what happens during the erotic segments is left to the imagination of the viewers. There are lots of puns and sarcastic sex jokes including one in the form of a song ‘We are monkeys, we are pathetic monkeys, we have no mating season’, exposing the animalistic side of human sexuality.The directors have given tributes to a lot of artists as well as politicians including some instances of world history by showing Russian ballet dancers, the French Can Can dancers, different Picasso paintings, the French Revolution, the Romanovs and Mona Lisa. Even the Astro Boy makes a very brief appearance. Much of the story also follows Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser and Antony and Cleopatra. The Ides Of March is mentioned and Caeser’s demise is shown as a theatrically staged show. Julius Caeser is shown as a strong man, who shows his love to all and sends to death those who defy him, but is love struck with Cleopatra’s beauty. On the contrary, Antony is shown as a weak individual who is addicted to Cleopatra and can not make single decision without her council.
This animated feature is a must see if you love watching classic animes. This one is a very unknown piece of art by Osamu and Eichii, who have worked in two more titles together which include Belladona of Sadness(1973), which is a part of three erotic features of which Cleopatra(1970) and A Thousand And One Nights(1969) are a part of. Soon, these masterpieces will be available to add into your collection.
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