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July 03, 2012

Zoom In: Sex Apartments

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Zumu in: Boko danchi
Naosuke Kurosawa - 1980
Impulse Pictures Region 1 DVD

This is one of those times when I have to wonder what the people making this film were thinking. And was there anyone who found Zoom In: Sex Apartments entertaining? Whatever director Naosuke Kurosawa and writer Chiho Katsura were intending regarding sexual fantasy seems lost amidst an ugly display of misogyny.

What exists of a narrative is of young housewife Saeko, following a quickie with her horny, if sexually clumsy husband, bicycling to a tryst with her long time lover, Takaya. On the way, Saeko is knocked off her bike and raped by an unknown man dressed in black, with black gloves, who threatens her with a long, pointed awl. Strangely enough, Takaya is dressed the same way, and as a piano tuner, has a similar looking, sharp instrument. Around the apartment complex where Saeko lives, young women are attacked, with the attacker often burning the women alive, lighting up the pubic area. All clues seem to lead to Saeko's lover.

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The last ten minutes or so point towards the film to be understood on a more metaphorical level leading to a scene of Saeko perhaps being raped in Hell. There is clearly the influence of Dario Argento at work here, yet the scenes of sex are not particularly erotic, nor are any of the thriller aspects suspenseful. There are what seem to be clues thrown out, such as a small child's piano and a slashed painting, yet they are not accorded any significance. It's never explained why Takayo keeps the toy piano hidden in his closet, or who slashed the painting. The one moment that is an interesting touch is when one of the assailant's victims, a schoolgirl, is suppose to be running away, but is shown running in place, while the lights to the apartments shut off while she calls for help.

It may be worth mentioning that screenplay writer Chiho Katsura's best known credit is for House, a decidedly better work of dream logic. In addition to writing films for Nobuhiko Obayashi, Karsura also wrote Queen Bee for Kon Ichikawa. That Katsura has worked on better films with better filmmakers makes the ill conceived screenplay here more distressing.

There is little to be found on star Erina Miyai outside of this English language filmography. A reasonably attractive woman, her most erotic moment is not when engaged with her husband, her lover Takaya, or her female lover Sachi, but alone, applying lipstick in an extreme close up.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at July 3, 2012 08:15 AM