Kurosaki (Ren Osugi) is an erotic novelist who uses his editor and a hired model to act out scenarios in his living room he will use for inspiration in his writing. His wife Shizuko (Yôko Hoshi) calls him a pervert but we soon learn that what bothers her is that she feels her husband has intellectualized his carnal desires and she feels physically neglected. Shizuko tries to make him jealous, or simply goes after what she desires with someone else. At first she brings home an Caucasian English teacher but soon zeros in on her husband's editor after witnessing his accomplished S&M rope tying technique. Kurosaki's first response is anger, then forgiveness, then he decides to use the affair as inspiration for his current work in progress. He demands that his editor continue the affair and recount all the sordid details to him. He slaps his editor upside the head, then forgives him and offers him a drink each time before they get to work.
I don't think this would be funny if it were an English language film. Part of its charm is feeling like a foreigner watching a Japanese film. Much of the humor is surely lost in translation but some of the translations take on a humor of their own. Often it feels like the words are too blunt and some subtlety of language is being missed, while other times it seems words are forced together into strange combinations to try and convey different shades of something not literally translatable. "Go anal". It's all played very sincerely, if somewhat surreal.
Speaking of surreal, one thing that puzzled me throughout this film was the house where most of the action takes place. The layout seems inscrutable, a labyrinth of hallways and doors. A character will walk down a hall, turn down another, and then open a sliding door to apparently go into a room. Then the camera is in the supposedly entered room but the door has hinges and no relation to a hallway. Kurosaki will serve his assistant a beer from one direction and then deliver a second one from a different location. There's one scene that appears to have no plot value where the maid exits a door, removes her shoes and plunges off the porch a couple feet to the ground, as if she expected a step of some kind to be present. I assume this scene is meant to convey that even the characters are a bit befuddled by the structure and layout of the house. Maybe I just missed something but this kind of scene does fit in with the overall strangeness of the film.
While this comes off as a small and amusing film, I think it was a big film for Ryuichi Hiroki, somewhat autobiographical, incorporating way more Japanese history and culture than I am privy to, and most importantly served as a great transition for him from a director of pinku films to more mainstream fare, albeit a little arthousey.
Starring: Ren Osugi, Yôko Hoshi, Jun Murakami, Eri Yamazaki, Kiriko Shimizu