Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pink Double Feature: S&M Hunter (Shuji Kataoka, 1986) and New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave (Osamu Sato, 2007)

Shiro Shimomoto as S&M Hunter (1986), directed by Shuji Kataoka.

Just finished watching the first two releases by new company Pink Eiga, S&M Hunter and New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave. I think it's good with a company that's focusing on releasing some true pink films since Artsmagic seems to have given that up (are they out of business?) and Kino hasn't released any more roman pornos since the release of a few Masaru Konuma titles a little over a year ago. The pre-pink/roman pornos and pinky violence films that have been released in between by other companies haven't been much to root for. I don't know if UK-based Salvation Films are still releasing pink films either, they don't seem to have put any out in a while. So Pink Eiga is very much welcome.

Their first two films are very different, S&M Hunter is a pretty crazy sex comedy about the one eyed titular character who is hired by a man who hates women to free his boyfriend from a group of female delinquents. The man is recommended by the proprietor of an S&M establishment to hire the S&M Hunter since he's the world's foremost rope bondage master and can conquer any woman on earth with his rope skills. There is love in his violence. While this is going on, the group of women are taking turns raping the kidnapped boyfriend to turn him into women instead of men.

S&M Hunter isn't as extreme as a lot of reviews make it sound like, compared to a lot of other Japanese 80's sex cinema, it's pretty tame. Sure, the leader of the girl gang posing in full nazi uniform in front of a swastika flag before her showdown with S&M Hunter may offend some, but who'd really take anything seriously in a film like this? It's a pretty fun cheese flick with some questionable morals but as I said, who would take it seriously, especially now, 23 years after it was made.

New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave, made in 2007 by Osamu Sato, has a completely different story. Young Rina is a high school girl by day and works as a dominatrix by night. She's good at it since she's actually a masochist so she knows what her clients want. When she moves to the city she gets a job at a company where her boss quickly exposes her as a masochist and takes her on as his slave. She has to do whatever he says whenever he says it, no matter where they are. He is also allowed to have other women as long as they are not his slaves. It's not hard to figure out that their games will lead to jealousy. When a co-worker falls in love with Rina it gets even more complicated.

Rina is played by AV and pink film actress Rinako Hirasawa who made her pink film debut in Shinji Imaoka's Frog Song in 2005 and New Tokyo Decadence is based on her own experiences in the world of BDSM. I think New Tokyo is the film of the two that deserves the most attention but it has been placed in the shadow of S&M Hunter's crazy bondage super hero story, while New Tokyo is more of a drama where Rina finds out what it is that she really wants.

Rina's boss and her leg in Osamu Sato's New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave (2007).

The good thing with New Tokyo is that it doesn't feel as Sato is being judgmental towards his characters in any way. The s&m in the sex scenes never turns into just a gimmick for the film, and it doesn't cross over into abuse like in so many other films. There is no bad childhood or any other trauma to explain away Rina's masochistic behavior. Sato also creates some truly erotic scenes that takes place outside the bedroom without the actors shedding any clothes at all and as tired as it may sound, he makes you care about the characters. New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave is proof of the real talent that exists in the pink film world and I hope Pink Eiga will keep bringing it forth for a long time.