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This is the classic Japanese S&M exploitation film from 1974. It has aged somewhat in terms of things that were considered taboo then but are no longer, or maybe less so. But it still isn't a film for most people as it features fetishistic S&M play with tons of traditional Japanese perversions such as roping, enemas and all sorts of other depraved acts of humiliation. Most of the content however straddles the fine line between S&M (where both parties are willing to do that kind of stuff), and torture (where the tormented party is unwilling). This is where the movie moves back and forth between being a simple kinky affair, and a torture movie, which is definitely not enjoyable to watch. But that's what defines this genre.
Shizuka (pink film starlet, Naomi Tani) is the aristocratic wife of Senzo Toyama, the president of a large company. Repulsed by her husband, she enlists her lifelong maid to act as a surrogate to appease his sexual desires. When the maid does not satisfy, Senzo often advances on Shizuka. After threatening to divorce him, Senzo orders his employee, Yoshi, to abduct his wife and train her in the ways of sexual submissiveness. Yoshi, who has been rendered impotent due to a childhood trauma, uses the opportunity to rid himself of his affliction. With the help of his domineering mother, the owner of an adult toy store and pornographer, they break Shizuka's will and open her perception of pleasure to torture and humiliation.
Based on the writing from Oniroku Dan, a sort of modern Japanese version of the Marquis De Sade, the film is graphic, and explicit. It is semi-pornographic even though, in accordance to Japanese laws on pornography, you never actually see real sexual acts, or even a single pubic hair. So it's really all in your head and the actors' play, which often makes you wonder what went on in these people's minds when they shot this. I watch those types of films with a huge grain of salt. Honestly, i would be either very embarrassed, or would completely break down in laughter because of the sheer preposterosity of it all. But then again, i have never taken S&M seriously at all and never understood what made people who like it click.
This is for curious people mostly, or perverts, but the film does represent a moment in the golden age of Japanese exploitation films, and a very unique S&M sub-genre. There were 4 sequels made, all in the second half of the 80's.
There were also 2 "remakes" done recently in 2004 and 2005 that are much more interesting as far as i am concerned. Japanese director Takashi Ishii (who also did the very good Freeze Me (2000)) crafted very good modern Japanese erotic films, and the fact that they also feature the groundbreaking Japanese actress Aya Sugimoto is the proverbial cherry on the cake.
- Laurent Hasson