Dawn of the Felines
Examining the rule book for Roman Porno films used by the Nikkatsu studio from the 1970s to the 1980s, this contemporary pink treat finds that the practices of prostitution have changed significantly since then. Under the neon lights of Tokyo, we follow three sex workers whose lives are meshed in bittersweet melancholy.
A one-week shoot, low-budget, under 80 minutes. And a sex scene every 10 minutes. These were the rules of the game assigned for the 1970s-1980s Roman Porno films produced by Nikkatsu studios, Japan’s oldest studio, which were responsible for producing 1,100 of these soft-core 'pink' titles. Almost half a century later, Nikkatsu assigned the task to five directors, the youngest of whom was Shiraishi Kazuya (Lost Paradise in Tokyo, IFFR 2010).
In his take on prostitution in contemporary Japan, we follow three women –Masako, Rie and Yui – who handle all types of clients from old widowers to hikikomori (socially withdrawn youth). While different shades of contemporary Japanese masculinity are sketched through their eyes, the film’s focus is entirely on the women, their camaraderie, their emotional complexities and strength, as well as the changing business practices of prostitution in the age of online interaction.
Also see Night of the Felines.