Sunday, 17 June 2012

Rope Cosmetology (1978) Shogoro Nishimura

After watching a little burst of fairly restrained and emotionally mature pinku fare I started to worry if I was getting locked into a sober groove and furrowing away from the morally vacant lunacy that made me love the genre in the first place. Rope Cosmetology proved to be a perfect corrective, a simple yet brilliantly bonkers joint from the talented Shogoro Nishimura (Rope and Skin, Woman with the Pierced Nipples, Beautiful Teacher in Torture Hell etc.) with the remarkable Naomi Tani getting up to some of her most unusual shenanigans. Here Tani plays Kanako, a bored housewife whose husband plays bafflingly little attention to her. If I were married to Naomi Tani I'd have my head between her legs 24/7 or as close as, but I guess there's a cultural difference thing at play. I.e., her husband works really hard at a tedious job and is more concerned with advancing himself than pleasuring his wife. Work ethics, personal development and so forth over pleasure. Seems a bit rum to me but there ya go. So anyway, she gets a message from former girlfriend Tomoe, who is now wife and muse of an S&M artist. After seeing what Tomoe and husband Isaku get up to, Kanako figures she wants in on the same scene. Wonderful things follow...

To get the downside over first, this is a film of decidedly modest ambition. The plot is one line and the characterisation wavers around one note, and the two don't interact in a way that leads to tension or much in the way of insight. There's some interesting comment on the notion of S&M and the dogplay of the film does take both submission as an idea and the degradations rife in the plotting of pinku cinema to their logical extremes, revealing a glorious mad vitality there often merely hinted at or less, but the film doesn't really rise above sleaze exercise. It's fortunate that it works so well as sleaze then, with rope play, hot wax dripping, lesbianism and the aforementioned dog play (peaking in one absolute jaw dropper of a sequence). Naomi Tani is on typically terrific form, dignified inside even in moments of least dignity, adventurous with a realistic tinge of hesitancy, and of course a lady of physical perfection, pure skin and graceful curves is if sculpted by gentle hand from the marble of the gods. Aoi Nakajima is also very fine as Tomoe, cheerful and charming if a little naive. Katsu Yamada is appropriately stuffy but slwoly aired out as Eichiro, husband of Kanako, while Akira Takahashi is perfectly likable whilse still a palpable sleazehound as Isaku. Everyone plays off each other with confidence giving affairs a potent charge, and while there may be few great surprises, on the whole this is just a really, really fun film. I guess only fans of the genre have any need to track this one down, but for them it's if not a full on must see then certainly highly recommended. So BW sums up, check it out!

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