Written and directed by acclaimed Japanese novelist and film director, Ryu Murakami (the mind behind Takashi Miike's Audition), the 1992 Tokyo Decadence takes the viewer on a journey to the seedy, secretive side of modern Japanese society as seen through the eyes of a young call girl who specializes in sadomasochistic acts of bondage, domination and submission.
Miho Nikaido (the real-life wife of US indie director Hal Hartley and the star of several of his films, including Henry Fool, Flirt and Fay Grim) stars as Ai, a young Japanese prostitute whose unrequited love for a former celebrity client draws her ever deeper into the dark underworld of gangsters, drugs and subversive sex as she tries desperately to win his affection.
Catering to Yakuza captains, salarymen and ostensibly "respectable" heads of industry, Ai witnesses and experiences sexual degradation, confusion and despair through her encounters with various clients who include a tycoon and his girlfriend who insist on humiliating her, a crazed drug fiend with a strangulation fixation, a submissive businessman known only as "Turtlehead" and a wine connoisseur with a disturbing taste for necrophilia.
Sexually graphic without being gratuitous, Tokyo Decadence is an unforgettable film that never shies away from exposing the realities of a world that is devoid of humanity and feeling. Boasting a music score by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence) and a brave, subtly sympathetic, soul-baring central performance by Miho Nikaido, it presents a disturbing and graphic indictment of the hypocrisies of excessive materialism and sexual puritanism.
Previously released on UK DVD by Arrow with a less than sparkling, non-anamorphic and standards-converted transfer back in 2007 (you can read our review here), the hope is that this upcoming re-release, also by Arrow as part of their ArrowDrome label, will improve somewhat on that. Release date is 24th October 2011 and the RRP is £9.99.
Special features include:
- Collectors' booklet by Robin Bougie;
- Reversible sleeve;
- ArrowDrome trailers.