The GLAMOROUS LIFE of SACHIKO HANAI is a piece of Japanese ‘pink’ cinema directed by Meike Mitsuru (Bitter Sweet). Its original incarnation titled “Hatsujo kateikyoshi; sensei no aijiru” has become such a cult hit in Japan that the producers decided to expand this feature film. A pink film is softcore porn, similar to the ones you see on late night cable; but with a more in-depth characterization, narrative, and cinematography. These three qualities play a vital part as with its titillation and erotic factors. I’ve read that “pink” cinema proved to be a starting point even for such acclaimed Japanese directors as Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Kairo aka. “Pulse“) and Yojiro Takita (yes, the acclaimed director of "Departures"). I will try to avoid using the word titillation again and this is my second time reviewing a pink film so forgive me if I slip.
Sachiko (Emi Kuroda) is a call girl who specializes in tutor/student fantasies. One evening, while she is waiting for a friend in a café, she gets shot in the head. Amazingly, she doesn’t die and ends up having sex with a cop. Next day, with a major headache, Sachiko finds the bullethole in her forehead and sticks a pencil inside. She inadvertently pushes the bullet further into her brain and for some reason she gains superhuman intelligence. Now, with a vast intellect and an appetite for sex, she turns her lust for knowledge for the musings of Noam Chomsky, Sartre and Sontag; along with the theories of a native professor named Saeki (Hotaro Yukijiro). After she tracks him down by having intercourse with him, she ends up becoming the professor’s son’s tutor. However, Sachiko has stumbled upon the cloned ‘trigger’ finger of President George W. Bush which can be used to launch America’s nuclear arsenal and she must dodge North Korean spies such as Kim (Takeshi Ito) who wants to get his hands on the cloned finger…
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Well, the film is definitely not for everyone but those who are looking for an inventive and oddly clever Japanese film, then this movie may be for you. After hearing about this movie last year via the net, I was dead intrigued and boy, was I not let down. It is a genuine “pink” film; it has philosophy, titillation, full frontal nudity, and is quite silly and insane but at the same time inventive and original. The film does have its servings of whacked humor through its political references. It also points an accusing metaphor to a certain American president; an individual wears a cut-out photo of the President in a TV while this man telepathically controls the cloned finger to violate our heroine. I was wondering whether there is a political theme to all of Sachiko’s ramblings or monologues; as to why and what is the point of all that. I think it may be just an attempt to poke or make fun of itself. Don’t take this movie seriously, it’s just a FUN ride. How can you take a film seriously that features a cloned finger that gets to--you know what I’m trying to say.
Emi Kuroda is quite nice to look at; she can act, she’s cute, curvaceous and has no qualms about showing all her “stuff”. Her character experiences sexual arousal and orgasm when she hears “Noam Chomsky”, which has to be a first in any cinema. Discussing dialectical materialism and theories while having sex is also very funny. There are about 7 scenes of vigorous sex (maybe more) and all of them are just 5-12 minutes away from each other. After awhile, Sachiko seems to have lost any feeling while having intercourse but experiences the entire feeling of being touched and even orgasm minutes after the act. This factor adds a lot of bizarre sequences that ends up with Sachiko, well, treating herself. The film is a skin flick but some scenes proved not too entirely titillating in a conventional sense. The scenes highlight some cultural differences in regards to Japanese erotica. Sachiko is taken advantage of, whether by sexual role play or while incapacitated, she seduces a high-school kid or becomes violated by a certain finger are all products of its genre. Folks who see this for its titillation factor and nudity won’t be disappointed but they will also think that the film is a hoot--and downright whacked. If you see this film, then maybe you’re a bit whacked yourself. (I know I am)
The philosophy is relevant to the film‘s narrative, believe it or not. The scenes wherein Emi Kuroda reaches sexual rapture is a very original touch and the film definitely embraces exactly what it is. Its proceedings exude “pink” erotica and even with its very little budget which was evident in the visible wires on the cloned finger (which maybe or not intentional), I enjoyed what I saw? I guess I do have a whacked-out side after all. Emi Kuroda breathes life and charm to her role even when she isn’t in a state of undress (which isn‘t often). She has all the tools to be sexy, humorous and enigmatic. Currently, Emi Kuroda is also competing in Japan's version of Mixed Martial Arts much like "Ultimate Fighting Championship" in real life; so she not only looks good but damn, she can also kick your ass. The woman does have enormous talent and does successfully carry the film's burden .
The film does stay grounded and the movie is fun to watch. I found myself laughing quite a number of times. It is not for everyone’s tastes and embodies the term “Oddball Erotica” and will amuse those who love campy, a bizarrely structured storyline with a touch of titillation. The film is a Hoot, enjoy it for what it is, pure wacky guilty pleasure! How many times did I say titillation, did you keep track?
Recommended timidly to fans of Japanese Cult films [4- Stars]
Note: The dvd release also has the original Japanese short movie before it was expanded to this full-length feature and the short film called “Adventures of Sachiko Hanai”.
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