Sunday, 2 September 2012
Flower and Snake 3: Punishment (1986) Shogoro Nishimura
I've not yet seen either of the first two Flower and Snake films. Didn't make me hesitate to watch this one though as I'm pretty sure the connection is thematic rather than directly plot or character based in nature. And since said theme (sexual subjugation and ambiguous acceptance) is a staple of the pinku genre at large and so something I've encountered many times, I didn't feel beholden to chronological order. Flower and Snake 3: Punishment is considerably less acclaimed than the Konuma original and doesn't do anything especially new or elaborate but it's a perfectly solid work for genre fans, well orchestrated by the veteran Shogoro Nishimura. The plot follows Shizuko Tooyama, whose rich businessman husband refuses to prop up the ailing concern of associate Takeshi. So Takeshi kidnaps Shizuko and makes her star in a porno film for blackmail purposes. And both maid Chiyo and lawyer Sugimoto are involved also, as well as Shizuko's student Mitsuko. Although the plot set up is simple, the involvement of multiple players gives it a taut, twisty feel where sympathies blur and shift which is most agreeably sustaining. The performances are all solid, starlet Minako Ogawa is harrowed but resourceful and determined as Shizuko, with some welcome darker shadings as well, Yuichi Minato is a good scummy villain and the other performers deliver the various intrigues with often sinister aplomb. Some nice pulsing synths on the soundtrack get the blood flowing, and the sexual scenes are suitably claustrophobic and mean, there are also outdoors nightime sequences lit in wan, eerie green conveying offbeat murky atmosphere. As far as the all important grotesqueries of the film go there's various sexy rope work, hot wax play, piss fun and a couple of slightly more unusual perversions that I won't spoil here. Suffice to say things aren't spectacular but perfectly pleasing, and the way things are organised the morality is nicely murky, giving the viewer a modicum of depth to chew on. The conclusion isn't so strong but provides at least a visually pleasing capper, making the film in general a solid piece of slim slick sleazy fun. Newcomers and genre enthusiasts of a more discerning temperament can probobly just about pass this one by, at least if there aren't any more spectacular offerings available, but for the more general fan like myself who just plain digs pinku films and isn't too worried if they're socks aren't knocked off this is worth a look. BW thumbs up then, but don't strain yourself searching for it or anything.