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All Critics (8)
| Fresh (8)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (4)
territory more commonly explored by Buñuel and Fellini.
Shohei Imamura at the height of his art, merging style and substance into a provocative and daring film.
Weird, funny, brilliantly directed.
For you porn fans, The Pornographers will be a letdown
Its heady mix of sexual politics and tangled relationships requires repeated viewing
Shohei Imamura's "The Pornographers" is frustrating -- the director's arty, remote style fails to properly accent what should have been a droll black comedy. A livelier musical score would help, and Imamura has an odd pattern of distantly shooting interiors through windows. It's difficult to emotionally connect with characters -- much less laugh at them -- when we're not even in the room.
Subu Ogata lives as a boarder with widowed Haru, her precocious daughter Keiko and her Oedipal son Koichi. He supports this makeshift family via producing low-budget pornographic films. A convenient romance is brewing with Haru, but her late husband's memory haunts her. She has promised to stay true to him and, in the film's strangest touch, she believes her pet carp is his vigilant reincarnation. "Whenever something bad happens, the carp jumps," she says. This motivates multiple insertions of the fish's "reaction" to events, plus some peculiar shots where the tank's undulating water acts as a filter between the camera and characters.
Ogata also eyes the teasing Keiko, endures Koichi's competitive intrusions and has problems with a local crime syndicate who wants a piece of his action. And while "The Pornographers" has no nudity or explicit sex (sorry), we do see some of the troubles Ogata has while shooting his films. In the most twisted scene, he struggles to direct a mentally disabled girl who's capable of little beyond mechanically chomping lollipops. Ouch.
The cast's faces are unfamiliar to most Western audiences, and can be confusing to distinguish. But Imamura makes his presence known with abrupt uses of freeze-frame (it's hard to tell what narrative purpose this serves) and an occasional dash of surrealism.
a surreal and darkly comic exploration of taboo themes including voyeurism and incest, it's a good bet the mainstream audience still isn't ready for this 45 year old film, which i might add is in no way pornographic. in fact there's no sex or nudity to speak of. superbly directed, tho it probably helps to be acquainted with japanese culture and new wave cinema to a degree. i watched it twice and still feel as tho i missed stuff
It would be a bit strong to say I enjoyed this movie, but there certainly was something about it. Although it is at times painfully slow and long, it is interesting, and I liked how it was filmed to make the audience vouyers. (Shots through windows, down corridors etc).
Imamura's style might reasonably be compared to the trippy works of an imaginary distant Asian cousin of David Lynch.
A unique and incredibly odd examination of sexuality in a world of greed and repression, where the human, personal aspect of sex is increasingly being incorporated by economics, legalities, and mechanical desire.
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