Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wife to Be Sacrificed 生贄夫人 (1974)

Wife to be Sacrificed - I watched this immediately after Flower and Snake. The previous film, in all honesty, does retain a campy quality, and one may feel cheapened afterwards, but I can say that this does something different. This is a more intelligent exploration of twisted desire (yeah, it is twisted if you have to do all that to a woman for satisfaction). Konuma's form is much more precise here, and he really made something of an erotic gem. I really do believe that if the sex were normal then everyone would be praising it as some classic, but only because it's perverse has it been excluded. Once they watch it, they'll understand. It'll be placed right up there with your Oshima, Bataille, Nin, Miller, de Sade, Masoch, and the like. Of course, the film's success greatly lies on the audience's feelings towards Naomi Tani. I could imagine nothing but an all-male audience viewing this, and more importantly a male audience in their 30s. Tani has a mature look that is usually unacceptable by film standards. She really does look like a woman and not an over-developed teen like some of the young actresses that are introduced into films to get press coverage. One critic said the secret behind her appeal is that she looks very much like a typical Japanese mother, and the audience would indulge in their repressed Oedipal fantasies while viewing her films. I couldn't go that far, but one will notice her fully grown-up look, pale skin, and fleshy exterior. It all adds to a very mature and intriguing film that I hope has been emulated again (and again) in her filmography. A subversive gem.

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