ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW
to other Pinku Eiga movies such as Shinji Imaoka's Despite
All That (1999) and Takahisa Zeze's Tokyo X Erotica (2001), the
sex in Toshiki Sato's Empty Rooms (2001) is considerably muted,
but there is still enough of it to make this an interesting addition
to the genre.
opens with housewife Mao Nakagawa lying in an empty room. The
sounds of a couple making love next door excites her and she starts
to masturbate. Suddenly a man (Yuji Tajiri) enters and starts
pacing about the room. He explains to Nakagawa that he stays next
door and his wife (Yumeka Sasaki) is having an affair yet he has
not the courage to confront his wife or her lover.
Nakagawa is the dutiful yet lonely wife of Takeshi Ito. While
Ito has a bad back and the couple has stopped having sex, Nakagawa
still tries to interest Ito into having sex. While going out one
day, Nakagawa meets Tajiri on the road. Tajiri is still trying
to work up his courage to confront his wife. The two then spend
time in a pachinko parlour before ending up dancing at a night
is unhappy that his wife is out partying and spies on her, leading
to a confrontation at Tajiri's apartment, to which Tajiri's wife,
Sasaki, tells Ito that it's fine if a woman doesn't stick only
to one man. After all, women need variety too.
tells Ito that he'll not see Nakagawa, the two continue to meet
and start having sex. Discovering the affair, Ito abuses Nakagawa
and punches Tajiri but the affair also seems to have a liberating
effect on Nakagawa. When Tajiri tells her that Sasaki wants a
separation, Nakagawa decide to go to the seaside with Tajiri.
While the sex (and what looks like a growing obsession) is good
for Nakagawa, it seems too much for Tajiri and the two then return
home. In the meantime, Ito meets a hooker who shows him that having
sex will not destroy his back.
Back in his
apartment, Ito is trying out his dancing clothes when Nakagawa
steps in. The two then go to the empty apartment next to Tajiri's.
Hearing the sounds of Tajiri and his wife making love, Nakagawa
and Ito start to dance.
is a natural flow to the sex and nudity in Empty Rooms, using
very broad strokes, director Toshiki Sato has hit out at male
dominance in Japanese society. It is very clear that it is all
right for Ito to be out drinking at night but not for his wife.
And Ito is being extreme in his behaviour since his wife is being
friendly with Tajiri (before the two started having sex).
On the other
hand, the film seems to be stuck in some kind of stasis where
the women are concerned. Tajiri's wife may be promiscuous but
there is also a longing in her that draws her to Tajiri; and the
ending of Nakagawa reconciling with Ito may or may not signal
a change in the sexual politics between the two though the fact
that Ito is trying out his dancing clothes indicate he is making
some effort to please his wife.
A slow burner
interrupted by bouts of intense sex, Empty Rooms is intriguing
because viewers are kept guessing which life paths the different
characters will take, but generally don't. But then, it always
comes back to the sex and nudity to speed things along.
The Empty Rooms DVD (Salvation Films) is banned in $ingapore.