Hell Bento: Uncovering the Japanese Underground (1995)



In 1995, siblings Anna and Adam Broinowski, the children of Australian diplomats in Tokyo decided to embark on the exploration of underground Japanese counter-culture. The high-wire exercise gave life to Hell Bento. As relevant as Tod Browning’s notorious movie Freaks (1932), this one-hour documentary has gathered a reputation of the perverse masterpiece.

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“.

Directors: Anna Broinowski & Andrew Sully.


Note: Better quality copy added on 21 August, 2021. Film starts at 0:50

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  1. Reimondo
    May 24, 2020

    It may come across as a bit artsy fartsy, but its a good interesting watch.

  2. Catherine
    July 31, 2021

    Damn, this was fascinating! Thanks!

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