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August 07, 2015

Sexual Assault at a Hotel: Rape Me!

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Hotel kyosei waisetsu jiken: okashite!
Horetsugu Kurahara - 1977
Impulse Pictures Region 1 DVD

The Japanese Pink movie is something that reveals a cultural gap between the Japanese and North Americans. As Jasper Sharp points out in his liner notes, the title should not be taken at face value. It has been several months since the last entry in the Nikkatsu Roman Porno series. I don't know if Impulse Pictures has any more in the series to offer, but my own preference has been for the other films that occasionally made a stab at artistic and / or social statements. Koretsugu Kurahara's main claim to fame is being the younger brother to Koreyoshi Kurahara, who twenty years earlier made his directorial debut at Nikkatsu with I am Waiting, one of that studio's earlier offerings to the newly discovered youth audience.

Keeping in mind that the definition of rape has been undergoing various shifts, there is a certain amount of irony that the bedroom of one of the characters, Rumiko, has a poster of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind, the American classic with its own scene of non-consensual sex. As these were films made by and for Japanese men, the pink films are fantasies of otherwise milquetoast salarymen satisfying their libidos with attractive young women who offer token resistance.

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Rumiko has a friend, Ryoko, who has come to Tokyo to study. The two have had a lesbian relationship in high school, but as far as Ryoko is concerned, it's a relationship she's outgrown. There is talk of Ryoko losing her virginity to a college athlete, a pole vaulter who supposedly looks like Steve McQueen. Here is where the film contributes some visual innuendos, between shots of the young man with his long, thin pole, and several shots of the tip of the pole pounding the ground. There are also some scenes of an artist and his nude model, as well as a young made identified as a drug dealer, the kind of elements that gives this film a loose connection to the social outsiders of the Nikkatsu films produced in the late Fifties and early Sixties.

There is also some business about an assistant professor who tells Ryoko that she resembles the virgins from ancient Japan, concluding with Ryoko getting spit roasted by a couple of older professors supposedly reenacting an otherwise forgotten ritual. The climax of the film is abrupt, not satisfying, as if there was a rush to finish things up, in a word, premature. Erina Miyai, who had a five year run in Nikkatsu's pink films plays the sexually adventurous Rumiko. Yuri Yamashima, the sexually repressed Ryoko, had been with Nikkatsu as a teenager, retiring at age 30, in 1983.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 7, 2015 02:17 PM