Thursday, 14 June 2012
Nurses Sex Journal (1976) Chusei Sone
So, here's another one of Nikkatsu's more serious and sensitive outings. Well, when I say serious and sensitive I don't mean that exactly, more that Nurses Sex Journal aims for more of a dramatic feel around the sexy times, its characters exist beyond mere cyphers and the plotting is a bit more advanced than the assualt/rape/rinse/repeat/ season to taste with rope bondage/piss play/hot wax dripping that makes so much pinku cinema such deliciously decadent entertainment. Here lovely young nurse Akemi is noticed spying on a young mobster and his girlfriend who live across the road, and upon discovering that her brother is in need of an expensive operation for unspecified malady she accepts the young mobsters offer of entry into prostitution, despite her being engaged. Characters wind and wander in a loosely plotted progression of events, Akemi is drawn into her new career despite misgivings, her relationship with her neighbour disturbs his girlfriend, her brother stays sick and is comforted by the friend who first brought him in for treatment, a fellow who it is implied speeded him into illness and is himself a bit of a sleazebag. Everyone is flawed in some measure but all are rounded, no heroes or villains, just people caught in a swirl. There's humour, pathos, kink and even the odd surprise (like an unexpected scene of rather frank homoeroticism), there isn't much of a compelling drive to the plotting but the film works in general just by being interesting viewing. And though things can appear a bit aimless, they are underpinned by a somewhat moving observation, mirrored symbolically in Akemi's job working in a blood transfusion clinic. Sex and money as sad vampire hungers, drawing people together with little joy or pity, pursuits that ultimately serve little more purpose than their own preservation, no real use at all to those caught in the web. Its thought provoking stuff and less "fun" than many of its genre, but good stuff anyway. Except that is for the ghastly presence of genital censorship, here presented chiefly in the form of bobbing oval blobs. Which is at least different to the usual, and for some reason kinda funny to me. Maybe because at one point it appears as though the effect was achieved by manually waving a colored in black oval over the naughty parts, attached to an uncovered handle both cut out of a transparency. The ovals shake around as well, adding to the impression. I wonder if in the credits somewhere there's a listing for "Censorship Stick Wielder Man"? Or maybe "Master Cock-Blocker!"? Also at the end theres an appearance of a socking great rectangle reminiscent of the technique that ruined Woods Are Wet, but fortunately it only happens once and but the end the whole affair has headed for bleakly comic implosion anyway. So I guess altogether this is pretty decent stuff. It's audience I suspect will be rather limited by its sober approach, but as a fan of character drama as well as cheering sleaze I thought this one a pretty solid 70 minutes or so, certainly never dull. So like, a fair thumbs up from me but don't expect anything like Hasebe or Ohara style stuff.