Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tokyo Caligula Fujin (1981) Koyu Ohara

While Koyu Ohara may never be held in the same exalted terms as the best of his Nikkatsu contemporaries, the guy had undeniable chops when it came to serving up tasty sleaze morsels. Tokyo Caligula Fujin (Lady Caligula in Tokyo) falls a fair ways short of my favorites from him so far on account of being brainless and largely lacking in emotional heft, but it makes up for it with a swift pace and lunacy from the get go. The first scene gives us wine play, spray-can cream cooch fondling and peppermint douching (during the course of which the lady on the receiving end quite reasonably call her lover out on being a bit of a weirdo), then the tone flips around from playfully, amusingly bonkers to rather more downbeat and serious (albeit still bonkers). Heroine Saori has been made a fool of by her husband and his lover, and upon meeting her old gal-pal Shuran finds not respite but further humiliation and abuse. Personally I thought the film could have done with about 50 percent more rope work but there's rape and piss fun and more besides so it's a bit churlish to complain.

The direction is mostly perfunctory apart from a couple of moments of interesting framing and a nice sequence of sex from a projector splayed in shifting pop art form across two copulating bodies. Still, there's no use of pixellation and the action is all pretty clear, plus the color scheme has some unexpected rich greens and other evocative tones, bringing a certain unexpected fell vivacity to events. Maiko Kasama does a good job as Saori, poise ebbing away as she falls, her journey from dignity to dejection an effective one. Other performers are solid, though the film in general is underwritten and there are several potentially interesting alleys that remain unfortunately unexplored. Though the pace is invigorating, this is definitely a film that would have benefited from a further ten to fifteen minutes of development, clocking at just over an hour it's a quickie that should have taken a little more time. But again, it feels a little churlish to complain as this is good fun stuff with a pleasing sense of variety and at least one stand out bit of memorable nastiness for the harsher hearted among us. So, definitely recommended for genre enthusiasts, casual samplers probobly need not apply though.

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