Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Shoujyo - An Adolescent|
Actors: Hideo Murota, Eiji Okuda, Mari Natsuki, Shoji Akira, Mayu Ozawa
Director: Eiji Okuda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Winner of Best Film and Actress awards at festivals ranging from Paris, Helsinki and Venice to Montreal and AFI this bright and twisted Japanese love story mixes tattoos, eroticism and comedy through the eyes of a 17-year ... more »
So-so vanity film
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 05/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Directing his first and only feature film, Japanese movie star Eiji Okuda made an unabashed vanity film. He cast himself as the ultimate man's man, a former gangster, complete with full yakuza tattoo, who reformed and has become a small-town police officer. Of course, beneath his brusque exterior beats a heart of gold, shown by how he spends his free time taking care of a local teenage retarded boy. He is a man so completely dripping with sex-appeal that he can't even return a missing dog without the happy owner insisting that he come in for a little afternoon delight. This poor guy is so tired out by refreshing the housewives that he tries to have a quiet rest and a beer in a local bar. Ah, but even it is too much for the ladies, as a cute 15-year-old jr. high school girl soon plops down at his table and introduces herself with the line "Hey Mister! You up for some sex?" Its a hard life indeed.
"Shoujyo - An Adolescent" is ostensibly based on a short story by Mikihiko Renjo, but it plays off as more of a soft-core "Lolita" clone. The story line is full of coincidences. Okuda soon begins a relationship with the 15-year old Yoko, and finds that she is the brother of his little retarded pal. On top of that, Yoko's grandfather is the one that gave him his tattoo many years ago. Yoko's mother, of course, demands sex from Okuda when she uncovers the relationship with her daughter, and Okuda willingly sacrifices himself, soon bedding both mother and daughter. None of the characters are even slightly realistic, with Yoko being little more than a fanciful image of youthful beauty and a middle-aged man's wish fulfillment.
The only redeeming feature of "Shoujyou" is that it is well-filmed. The story is shallow, but the pictures are pretty and so are the girls that Okuda trysts with. As a soft-core pink film with a lolita theme, there are certainly worse movies out there. Just don't set your expectations too high."
[3.5]--Eiji Okuda first and only directorial film.
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 11/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Lolita-esque romantic drama adapted from a book by Mikihiko Renjyo was okay. This film could've been edited to say 90 minutes instead of 122 minutes due to some unnecessary elongated scene. Even though this is another controversial film I can't help but to think that this is part of the actor/director fantasy or fetish.
In here we have Tomokawa (Okuda) as a tough guy turned bored cop who spends much of his time sating lonely housewives and looking after the mentally challenge teen Sukemasa. One day while hanging out at a bar, he is approached by a 15-year-old enjo kosai named Yoko, offering a round of illicit sex in exchange for cash. Though he demurs, their paths cross again and soon a relationship of sorts forms. Yoko, it turns out, is Sukemasa's sister; and both are the children of his old flame Yukie (Marie Natsuki), a grasping, self-centered woman. Moreover, Yoko's grandfather is responsible for the massive tattoo sprawling across Tomokawa's back. Tomokawa soon takes both teens under his wing, protecting them from their heartless mother, and their lecherous stepfather. Soon, Yoko gets a similarly massive tattoo illustrating her bond with her policeman savior.
I felt that all the characters and relationships between them were very well thought out but I feel Mayu Ozawa gave the strongest performance except when she was asked to idolize the indolent cop in front of camera. There are some steamy scenes in the beginning but falls short towards the end. The cinematography is just as fine as well as the plot. I recommend this to those who enjoy thought provoking foreign films.