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June 01, 2012

Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl

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Zumu appu: Biniru-bon no onna
Takashi Kanno - 1981
Impulse Pictures Region 1 DVD

Someone at Nikkatsu knew exactly what they were doing when they had Junko Mabuki wear those little black panties. Getting around the rule of no shots of genitalia and no pubic hair, those black panties look almost like the black patch of the forbidden zone. The camera zooms in on those panties while Mabuki is fingering herself, with wetness becoming more obvious. Even within the boundaries of Roman Porno, Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl is made by some people who were unafraid of pushing the depiction of sex beyond previous restraints.

I don't know much about Junko Mabuki other than that she briefly was a very popular Nikkatsu Roman Porno actress for a very, ahem, brief time, from 1980 through 1982. Most of her films were part of a bondage series. There is a bit of rope play here, most notably with Mabuki tied to a cross. Whether that particular scene is deliberately sacrilegious might be up to debate, but it is certainly one of the more visually striking moments.

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The story, as such, is about a photographer, Kimura, who shares a little apartment with his assistant, and a model. Kimura's specialty is shooting photos of young women dressed as schoolgirls, showing off their white panties or urinating at convenient locations. A mysterious woman, Nami, appears at seemingly auspicious moments. A bit older and more sophisticated in dress, Nami proves willing to do the kind of posing that the others models won't or can't do.

Aside from the close up of the wet panties, there are shots of bulging from men's pants, oral sex, urophilia, and frequent scenes of eating, drinking and cooking. To cop a line from a tuna commercial, the film is not about good taste, but what tastes good. I can't absolutely vouch for the veracity, but I assume that there is some truth to the presentation of this lower end of the porno industry being populated by failed artists and students looking for a relatively quick and easy yen. What I found most interesting were the ways in which the filmmakers inventively worked around and with taboos of what was allowed within the Japanese film industry. Strangely enough, the most obvious digital manipulation in this film is of an obscured logo on the shirt worn by the other main female character.

Showing how little there is available online in English, I found out more about Junko Mabuki in these notes about a CD entitled Slave of Love. My curiosity is piqued by the comparison to Ingrid Bergman. I am thinking such a comparison might be based on Bergman's frequent playing of a woman who is subjected to the psychological tortures of various men. There's even less to be found on Takashi Kanno other than that he directed one other film titled Masochism. I have also taken it upon myself to order a copy of Jasper Sharp's book on Japanese soft core films to assist in my own coverage of these DVDs. Certainly, like the other Nikkatsu titles, may be of appeal to certain enthusiasts. But there is a certain fearlessness, especially on the part of Junko Mabuki, that is to be admired.

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Posted by peter at June 1, 2012 08:18 AM