Friday, June 08, 2007

From the Dung Pile


Unpublished (unpublishable?) review time.

Rafureshia

So, there’s this funny story about rape, incest, and social isolation, wanna hear it?

Poor Alisa (Kinkao) just wants to see what’s “on the other side of the ocean,” and who can blame her, she’s been trapped on an island all her life by her perverted papa. He tells her the outside world is a “boring place filled with boring people.” Fed up, she dives into the sea, and heads to the other side.


Meanwhile in this “boring place” one of these so-called “boring people,“ Harumi (Yumi Yoshiki), is partaking in a bout of mutual masturbation at the dinner table with her stone-cold mother-in-law (Kiyomi Ito) while aloof husband Yoshio (Koichi Imaizumi) casually chows down. Mom’s pissed that she doesn’t have a grandbaby yet, and wants to make sure Harumi’s what her son needs in the bedroom.

Later that night, Alisa washes ashore, and is greeted by a gaggle of grimy fishermen, looking for love… or gang rape; when you stink of rotting fish, you can’t be too choosey. After one stumbles out into the street and brags to a local yakuza that he just “fucked a mermaid,“ Alisa gets put to work as a chainsaw-wielding dominatrix at Harumi’s mother-in-law’s fetish club; where a prominent politician dons his finest bib and bonnet ensemble.


Then “boring” Harumi drops her drab-duds, puts on a little black number, and hits the red-light circuit for a little “play”, while Alisa ends up with a sack of cash and a new perspective of the world. Humping and hijinks ensue as these characters join in the night, looking for rafureshia, the “flower of illusion.”

Who would'a thunk it: a light-hearted comedy from Hisayasu Sato. Well, as light-hearted as something from the director of Lolita Vibrator Torture is going to get.

Hitting the pinku scene in the 80s with the impact of a brick to the dick, Sato established himself, along with directors Takahisa Zeze, Kazuhiro Sano, and Toshiki Sato, as one of the “Four Kings of Pink”. They were a group whose pinky pontifications looked less like the biker babe bonanzas of Toei, and more like the transgressive cinema of Nick Zedd and Richard Kern.

The Kings weren’t so interested in getting you hot n‘ heavy, as using the naughty action to reveal the often dark inner workings of their characters. Breakdowns, isolation, and extreme sadism filled their features, and Sato was arguably the most caustic of the bunch. In roughly ten years he created some sixty films, nearly all the stuff of sexual-nightmares, where rapists dwell in concrete blocks, and every character is a naïve or twisted social outcast.

Which makes this slap-stick sex-fest the odd bird in his filmography; with gags involving cross-dressers, katanas, and cutlery to the crotch replacing the vicious violence and emotional breakdowns. Still, there’s gang-rape, underground fetish clubs, and mental and sexual abuse, but it’s the kind that tickles your funny bone.

So leave the raincoat at home, and put away the K.Y. because this isn’t some pallid porno, this is pink, and the King is going to make sure you never make that mistake.

Wes Black
ArtsMagic

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