Hookers in school uniform - that seems to be a draw among many Japanese men. But what happens when the young girl has designs on the wife instead? Shinji Imaoka's Despite All That gives a twist to the male fetish that leaves the audience wanting more. Stephen Tan reviews.

THE ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW

In Despite All That, prominent Pinku Eiga (Pink Film) director Shinji Imaoka takes on one of the noted fetishes among Japanese men - the hooker in a school uniform.

Salaryman Yoshio (Takeshi Ito) finds his sex life with his wife, Naoko (Mitsuyo Suwa), on the decline and suggests that she dresses up as a student to spice things up. Still dressed up in her uniform, Naoko, who is an art teacher, goes out to buy a pair of stockings. On the way, she meets rebellious student Kimiko (Atsuko Suzuki). The two had earlier fought after Kimiko stomped on a portrait that Naoko had worked on but things have cooled down and Kimiko even helps Naoko with her shopping.


 

Finding that Kimiko is living on her own (she said her parents were on vacation), Naoko invites Kimiko to stay at her home. Claiming that she needed to hug something in order to sleep, Kimiko snuggles up to Naoko and soon starts to fondle her, and it doesn't take long for Kimiko to finger Naoko into a climax. While all this is happening, husband Yoshio is eavesdropping outside behind the door.

One day, Kimiko stops Yoshio in the street and brings him to her home. For a guy with a schoolgirl fetish, it is not difficult to get him excited. She only has to ask him to remove her stockings and away he goes. In one of their meetings, Kimiko ties up Yoshio, writes the words "Old perverted pedophile!" on his back and keeps him prisoner to be looked after by her boyfriend.

Kimiko returns to Naoko but the latter rejects Kimiko's advances that night. Finding that her efforts with Naoko are not making any headway, Kimiko releases Yoshio and realises that it is her boyfriend that she wants after all. Yoshio, who has returned home, also realises that he loves his wife and the two spend some intimate moments together. One day, the neurotic Naoko slices her wrist but is consoled by the love Yoshio shows to her.

By making Kimiko bi-sexual, director Shinji Imaoka (who made the Pinku Eiga classic, Lunch Box) must have satisfied a lot of secret desires among his audiences. After all, the chesty Kimiko has no problem fondling her art teacher nor does she have any objections to opening her legs to both Yoshio and her boyfriend.


 

Generally, Despite All That scores pretty high on sex and nudity. It is the story department that falters. It needs to be noted that unlike many western soft porn movies, Pinku Eiga often spots interesting storylines or philosophical digressions. But here, it seems as if all the efforts were made to highlight the sex and the nudity. As the protagonist, Kimiko gets an easy way out - she achieves happiness with her boyfriend (or is that the sex talking?). The film gives no indication why she tries to seduce both Naoko and Yoshio. While there is no hint that Kimiko is obsessed with Naoko (at the start the two seem to barely know each other), why is she working so hard to get Yoshio out of the way? While there are moments when it can be interpreted that she is looking for a mother figure, she is also aware enough to know it's time to let go, an act which sorts of short-circuits the film's tension and practically cuts her off from the rest of the movie.

As for the neurotic Naoko, now that's an obsessive person. She may have taken Kimiko in because she felt that the student was lonely, but it does show that Naoko is the one who is lonely. The film opens with the sound of her chopping vegetables, and her cutting and dicing is a motif that runs throughout the film, which ends in her cutting her wrist. And when she has one of her neurotic attacks, Naoko freezes out and hides in one of her closets. Knowing that your wife is such a neurotic wreck, why isn't Yoshio doing anything to help her instead of forcing his sexual fantasies on her?

As the film's title suggests, despite all the engaging sex and nudity, there are a couple of loose ends that, if had been attended to, would have made this a much more entertaining and thought-provoking entry into the Pinku Eiga genre.

Note: The Despite All That DVD (Salvation Films) is banned in $ingapore.





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July 17, 2007








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