Friday, August 28, 2009


Pleasures of the Flesh / [Lihan ilot] / [Köttets lust]. JP 1965. PC: Sozosha. P: Masayuki Nakajima. D+SC: Nagisa Oshima – based on the novel Kan no naka no Etsuraku by Futuro Yamada. DP: Akira Takada - Shochiku Grandscope 2,35:1 - Eastmancolor. AD: Yasutaro Kon. M: Joji Yuasa. The theme song "Etsuraku". ED: Keiichi Uraoka. CAST: Ketsuo Nakamura (Atsushi Wakisaka), Mariko Kaga (Shoko Inaba), Yumiko Nogawa (Hitomi), Masako Yagi (Shizuko), Toshiko Higuchi (Keiko), Hiroko Shimizu (Mari), Shoichi Ozawa (Hayami), Shoji Kobayashi (the rapist), Masahiko Naruse (Shoko's father), Daigo Kusano (Kudo), Mutsuhiro Toura (Sakurai), Hosei Komatsu (Eshiro), Shinko Ujie (Shoko's mother), Kei Sato (inspector Keji), Akira Hamada, Toru Emori, Fumio Watanabe (Hitomi's goons). 104 min. A Janus Films print with English subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 27 Aug 2009. - A delicious print with a beautiful photochemical colour quality. - My favourite Nagisa Oshima film so far. - He made it after a three year silence as a cinema director. The approach is completely different, still bold, daring and original, but more assured than before. - The story has affinities with La Chienne, Vertigo and Peeping Tom, but there is no imitation there. - There is a strong dream feeling. - A subjective first-person story. The first-person-viewpoint is unreliable, but the hallucinations are immediately revealed as such. - It is a nightmarish story of a decent man drawn to crime and promiscuity. - Having made a great sacrifice to his beloved Shoko and having lost her to another man, Atsushi has access to a stash of 30 million Yen of embezzled public funds. In his desperation, he decides to spend it all to women and then die. - But because of his basic decency Atsushi is not able to be as cynical as he would like. The women he buys emerge as real human beings, whom he is unable to objectify as paid playthings. The first woman is a married showgirl connected with the yakuza, the second woman is a poor married countrywoman whose child is sick, the third woman is a doctor who has left her job in a hospital because of sexual harassment, the fourth woman to whom Atsushi spends his last yens is a promiscuous mute prostitute Mari under the protection of a petty gangster. - The gangster wants to employ Atsushi to find out about a hidden stash of money, because its owner has died in prison... And finally Shoko appears, impoverished, wanting to borrow a large amount of money... - Despite the title, there is hardly any sex in the film, and no nudity. - It is an ironic crime story of a pathologically shy man who is afraid to live. Among the women in the film, the repressed woman doctor is most closely his soulmate. - The final revelation is that Shoko has never really loved Atsushi, nor has she ever been worthy of him. - Excellent cinematography, profoundly cinematic storytelling, a haunting score and soundtrack. - The Ibsenian concept "livslögn" (life-lie, life-deception, life-illusion) is the keyword here.

No comments: