Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

by Charlie ParsleyAfter the recent examination of the samurai, I suggest to continue the study of Japanese cinema with another subject: the geisha.

Geishas are punk rock like the samurai and will pull a knife on you just as fast if you yank their chain. They have less respect for love. They are not particularly virtuous. They will say what you want to hear. They wear that mask of makeup. They have a look. I love the robes of the Japanese, oh how I would enjoy an appropriately fitted men's outfit in a formal style the fabrics are luscious and the patterns are exquisite.

Realm is all about the sexual revolution. It is of the time. And yet it is timeless, as time less as prostitution. Is prostitution an aspect of a sexual revolution? Perhaps sexual revolutions are going on all the time around us, and only a few of us notice. Only a few are bravely open and unashamed, unabashed with their notions of sexuality. A free accepting of sexuality, a comfortable understanding of it. Some may disapprove of so called promiscuous behavior. Sexual appetites vary as widely as sexual tastes. There are as many sexualities as there are people walking on the street.

The Japanese like to quietly slide the paper panels of a room to gently peer inside at the goings-on. As the walls are paper thin, it is usually no secret about what might be transpiring a few feet away. A geisha will wait
while you finish up. She is here to entertain you. she can strum a guitar and sing. She can do this sitting on a pillow and she can also do this sitting on your excitable lap. Which do you prefer? Yes thank you. please keep playing or else my wife will be suspicious.

The filmmaker has an attitude similar to the golden era of 70s pornography. The sexual situations are incorporated into the story in a non exploitative way. the characters interact in an environment with much openness and transparency, as there isn't much that truly happens behind closed doors. It isn't that the characters are particularly immoral, they are just more accepting of sex. They enjoy it. It is a part of the daily ritual.

The author concludes with a description of his favorite scene. There is a very hardcore depiction of oral sex which is both acted and photographed very well. It is enjoyable for the beauty of the characters it captures. The male reclines on a couch while the female is preoccupied with polishing his sword. He leisurely lights a cigarette and then says to her that she is a remarkable woman. A very Playboy mansion vibe, trashy but classy. The sex
scenes in the film are well done and the film as a whole is quite engaging.


odienator said...

Charlie Parsley, this is a particularly nasty Memoir of a Geisha. I remember going to see this when it played in NYC for its 25th anniversary. The argument about whether this is art or porn was answered by the film's end: this is artfully shot porn. The one scene that made my jaw drop was the one with the lady and the egg.

For the LiverPutty readers who aren't aware, this movie ends badly. Real badly. Lorena Bobbitt bad.

Good piece. Between this and Gong Li trying to "destwoy" Ziyi Zhang, I will run like a bat out of hell from geisha.

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