Something hidden -- go and find it;
Go and look beyond the Ranges
Something lost behind the ranges:
Lost and waiting for you. Go!


-- from Guy Maddin's CAREFUL


Being a periodic meditation on some of the more obscure outlying regions of cinema;
regarding movies that are inadequately publicized and hence, easily overlooked --
and by cinema, it is meant in the larger sense of films/tv/DVD/internet --
that might be worthy of your interest, but perhaps has escaped your notice.


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Friday, June 29, 2007

THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI




      ”Pink Film” is something we gaijin would call “soft-core porn”; a Japanese variety of such, to be exact. While as a genre it does feature simulated sex acts and the occasional hint of S/M and bondage, there’s nary a sign of a pubic hair, let alone shots of genitals or Heavens forbid! Actual penetration! By the current Western standards of porn -- even the soft-core variety -- pinku eiga is almost quaint       ...well, almost. In addition to the aforementioned tendency towards ‘rough’ sex in these films (of that particular flavor -- peculiar to the Japanese, I think -- in which the male seems to rationalize his aggressive stance towards the fair sex on the basis of his conviction that women aren’t even of the same species), there also seems to be an increasing tendency towards abstraction that would seem out of place in almost any film, let alone something produced by the Tokyo equivalent of Vivid Video. The most outrageous example of such (that I’ve seen, at least), would have to be The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai.


      The film opens with call-girl Sachiko playing the part of a teacher for a client who seems to like his professors particularly strict. After wrapping that up (as well as the film’s first sex scene), she heads to a diner for a late-night snack -- and promptly drops into the middle of a yakuza shoot-out that results in her a.) receiving a non-fatal gunshot wound to the head (said wound seems to both increase her intelligence and give her a series of disorienting -- and sexually explicit -- hallucinations), and b.) accidentally pocketing the cloned finger of George W. Bush. Which finger? The button-pushing finger -- you know, that button -- the one we all hope never gets pushed. Sachiko’s on the run from there on out -- from the Yakuza, from North Korean assassins, but most of all, from George W. Bush -- and his autonomous and very frisky finger.


      Part of what makes the film fun is that it never forgets it’s a porno; as soon as you start wondering when everybody’s going to stop talking about the ontological implications of quantum brain dynamics, somebody decides it’s time for a blowjob. It’s structured a lot like a conventional porn film in that regard; but instead of lengthy interstitial scenes where the Pizza Delivery Boy talks suggestively to some triple-X starlet, characters chat about metaphysics, Susan Sontag, and post-modern deconstructivist politics for a moment -- then do it doggy style, just to mix things up a bit. Not a bad way to get across some socio-political satire; it certainly keeps one looking forward to the next plot twist, let me tell ya’. In sum, you don’t often see a film which brings together George W., Noam Chomsky, and the dangers of Nuclear proliferation all in the same scene -- let alone one that throws in a money shot for good measure; Sachiko Hanai does just that, with a wink, a smile and a goodnight kiss to send you on your way.


      The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai is being released theatrically here in the U.S. by Palm Pictures, and screens tonight, midnight, June 29th, at the NuArt Theater in Santa Monica, CA. Most of its bookings seem to be for midnight screenings, but for those who can’t stay up that late (or are just hesitant to see a porn movie in a public place), it’s already available on DVD, and can be purchased through Amazon; or just rent it from Netflix -- they’ll mail it to you, conveniently enough, in a plain red wrapper.

Some links:

The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai official website.

Sachiko’s MySpace page.

Palm Pictures webpage regarding this release.

An interesting article about Pinku Eiga.


Next post -- 07/06/07

2 comments:

TT said...

nice use of the word "interstitial"

Van Choojitarom said...

Dear Grigorss,

This is one of the best things written to come out of a musty strangely mushroomy raincoat in the middle of summer. Looking forward to each post.