Jinruigaku nyumon: Erogotshi yori (The Pornographers) Reviews

  • May 06, 2020

    As shocking as it was when it was first released in the 1960s (and some are still shocking today), it does not hold up well today and seems sluggish and bland.

    As shocking as it was when it was first released in the 1960s (and some are still shocking today), it does not hold up well today and seems sluggish and bland.

  • Mar 14, 2015

    An eclectic movie; a significant chapter in the Japanese New Wave cinema of the late 1950s to the 70s.

    An eclectic movie; a significant chapter in the Japanese New Wave cinema of the late 1950s to the 70s.

  • Mar 22, 2012

    The Pornographers is as it says in the title a movie about the porn industry of Japan. More specifically it is about how one man makes porn to support his lover and two kids. The film touches upon taboos of incest and issues of morality. And to me it suggests that the existence of porn helps quell the animalistic natures of humans by providing a way to experience their own sexual fantasies. While also contrasting what is seen as the inherent immorality of the industry and its exploitive nature. Overall I feel like it was a very interesting study of characters on the cusps of society( like all Imamura films so far I have seen) , I just wish it focused a little less on the family and explored the pornography industry a bit more, as it is a subject that is rarely discussed in serious film, yet is such a major part of many societies that it deserves to be talked about more in a serious manner.

    The Pornographers is as it says in the title a movie about the porn industry of Japan. More specifically it is about how one man makes porn to support his lover and two kids. The film touches upon taboos of incest and issues of morality. And to me it suggests that the existence of porn helps quell the animalistic natures of humans by providing a way to experience their own sexual fantasies. While also contrasting what is seen as the inherent immorality of the industry and its exploitive nature. Overall I feel like it was a very interesting study of characters on the cusps of society( like all Imamura films so far I have seen) , I just wish it focused a little less on the family and explored the pornography industry a bit more, as it is a subject that is rarely discussed in serious film, yet is such a major part of many societies that it deserves to be talked about more in a serious manner.

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    Eric B Super Reviewer
    Jan 19, 2012

    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.

    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.

  • Jul 13, 2011

    Made by the same director who would remake The Ballad of Narayama (1983), the film stands as a proof that Shouhei Imamura isn't the kind of filmmaker who only knows how to render into rolling images the depiction of society and its people, all back-to-back. Here, Imamura twists the reality which we often spontaneously recognize, rebuild its structure to construct a full-time parody and suddenly crush it to make entirely something new, although still familiar to our realm. It is filled with poker-face people and decadent character of society, serious enough to make us laugh. The surprise is that not only it works as a collective representation of the society, it also scrutinizes our truest character as an individual, as a man or woman, as a human being. The doll at the climax was a hit; it symbolizes the enigma of Ogata, his passion, that is, to recall past memories of Haru and recreates life. On the other side, it also plays as a way to runaway from his pain of loss and agony. It's quite funny how the absurdity of man can be the simplest way to recognize the purpose of our existence. If you like sex, then you're normal. That is, probably, what we always try to cover up and distract ourselves from, but eventually fail and got busted.

    Made by the same director who would remake The Ballad of Narayama (1983), the film stands as a proof that Shouhei Imamura isn't the kind of filmmaker who only knows how to render into rolling images the depiction of society and its people, all back-to-back. Here, Imamura twists the reality which we often spontaneously recognize, rebuild its structure to construct a full-time parody and suddenly crush it to make entirely something new, although still familiar to our realm. It is filled with poker-face people and decadent character of society, serious enough to make us laugh. The surprise is that not only it works as a collective representation of the society, it also scrutinizes our truest character as an individual, as a man or woman, as a human being. The doll at the climax was a hit; it symbolizes the enigma of Ogata, his passion, that is, to recall past memories of Haru and recreates life. On the other side, it also plays as a way to runaway from his pain of loss and agony. It's quite funny how the absurdity of man can be the simplest way to recognize the purpose of our existence. If you like sex, then you're normal. That is, probably, what we always try to cover up and distract ourselves from, but eventually fail and got busted.

  • Mar 04, 2011

    A film egy pornófilmes emberrÅ'l szól aki mellesleg potencianövelÅ' szerekkel is kereskedik. Van neki egy szà (C)p családja, egy felesà (C)g, akinek az elÅ'zÅ' fà (C)rje reinkarnálódott egy halba à (C)s kà (C)t mostohagyereke, akibÅ'l az egyikkel fajtalankodik idÅ'nkà (C)nt. :)

    A film egy pornófilmes emberrÅ'l szól aki mellesleg potencianövelÅ' szerekkel is kereskedik. Van neki egy szà (C)p családja, egy felesà (C)g, akinek az elÅ'zÅ' fà (C)rje reinkarnálódott egy halba à (C)s kà (C)t mostohagyereke, akibÅ'l az egyikkel fajtalankodik idÅ'nkà (C)nt. :)

  • Mar 01, 2011

    What an odd film. It's themes, characters, and humour can now be found in the work of Todd Solondz, but I'm sure Todd's films aren't haunted by carps like this one is.

    What an odd film. It's themes, characters, and humour can now be found in the work of Todd Solondz, but I'm sure Todd's films aren't haunted by carps like this one is.

  • Nov 11, 2010

    A murky film about murky moral ambiguities. The plot is disjointed and the pacing sometimes trying, which can make it difficult to follow at times. But it achieves a strange, almost surreal energy that builds a consistently compelling atmosphere while it explores its complex, enigmatic characters. Not without its flaws, but an intriguing classic.

    A murky film about murky moral ambiguities. The plot is disjointed and the pacing sometimes trying, which can make it difficult to follow at times. But it achieves a strange, almost surreal energy that builds a consistently compelling atmosphere while it explores its complex, enigmatic characters. Not without its flaws, but an intriguing classic.

  • Aug 23, 2009

    imamura really is the most idiosyncratic of all japanese filmmakers. this takes a while to really get going, but once it does its quite interesting. the thing about imamura is that he knows exactly what he is doing. he is fully self-aware and therefore is free to do some really strange things and poke fun at himself. in this film we are voyeurs. there are so many shots from outside a room or through a cracked door or through curtains.

    imamura really is the most idiosyncratic of all japanese filmmakers. this takes a while to really get going, but once it does its quite interesting. the thing about imamura is that he knows exactly what he is doing. he is fully self-aware and therefore is free to do some really strange things and poke fun at himself. in this film we are voyeurs. there are so many shots from outside a room or through a cracked door or through curtains.

  • Jun 14, 2009

    A brilliant exploration of sexual desires, family relations, and the quest to support those you love. Hilarious, at times disturbing, and brilliantly filmed throughout, The Pornographers explores many of humankind's fetishes without ever being explicit--there is only one brief moment of nudity and profanity is seldom used to discuss the issues of the film. Imamura develops a truly original stylistics for the film which often features voyeuristic shots from outside houses, through fish aquariums, etc. almost as if he is approximating the voyeuristic films of his characters through his own direction. And, indeed, the film ultimatley reveals itself to be a film being watched by another group of individuals. From masturbation to marriage, from orgies to creating the perfect sex doll, from incest to school girl fetishes, The Pornographers explores it all while also examining the governmental apparatus that suppressed pornography in 1960s Japan. Indeed, the main character argues that he performs an essential service to his fellow man by providing them with his products. Ultimately, the film reveals sex to be a sort of glue that binds society together since it is the ultimate uniting of one person to another. Of course, what then is to be made of the character who chooses masturbation over the troubles of relationships?

    A brilliant exploration of sexual desires, family relations, and the quest to support those you love. Hilarious, at times disturbing, and brilliantly filmed throughout, The Pornographers explores many of humankind's fetishes without ever being explicit--there is only one brief moment of nudity and profanity is seldom used to discuss the issues of the film. Imamura develops a truly original stylistics for the film which often features voyeuristic shots from outside houses, through fish aquariums, etc. almost as if he is approximating the voyeuristic films of his characters through his own direction. And, indeed, the film ultimatley reveals itself to be a film being watched by another group of individuals. From masturbation to marriage, from orgies to creating the perfect sex doll, from incest to school girl fetishes, The Pornographers explores it all while also examining the governmental apparatus that suppressed pornography in 1960s Japan. Indeed, the main character argues that he performs an essential service to his fellow man by providing them with his products. Ultimately, the film reveals sex to be a sort of glue that binds society together since it is the ultimate uniting of one person to another. Of course, what then is to be made of the character who chooses masturbation over the troubles of relationships?