The source novel by Dan Oniroku, the undisputed champion of Japanese s-m fiction, has been filmed five times before, but Ishii sets out to flatten all other contenders: this is the Titanic of s-m exploitation. Tango dancer Shizuko (Sugimoto), trapped in a cold marriage, is kidnapped by a yakuza (Endo) and wakes to find herself starring in daily 'performances' of an s-m masquerade for an elite audience of the very rich. The private show is masterminded and bankrolled by the 95-year-old Ippei (Ishibashi), obsessed with the notion that Shizuko is concealing her deepest desires. A series of physical and psychological tortures is applied, but Shizuko defeats the best efforts of the transvestite emcee and never cracks. Finally Ippei himself totters into the arena... The film pays obligatory lip-service to the strength and 'superiority' of women, but more than an hour is devoted to unwavering close-ups of Shizuko's humiliations and sufferings. The visual style, of course, is florid.
You may also like