Sunday, August 30, 2009

[Japanese Film Festival] A Snake of June (Rokugatsu No Hebi)

Mushi Mushi

Written, directed and starring Shinya Tsukamoto, A Snake in June is a strange, twisted tale of voyeurism that somehow did things correctly enough to warrant an improvement to the quality of the victims' life! You read me right there, because the turmoil experienced somehow brought about some positive change, but not before an exercise in exploitation gets its proper dues paid on screen.

We're introduced to a soap operatic perfect couple, or so it seems, where they nary quarrel and go about doing their respective chores when at home, with the husband seemingly a cleanliness freak, because early in the story we always see him hovered over something to scrub. Everyone's wearing a smile, but there's something quite plasticky about the way they interact, almost devoid of genuine, sincere emotion, and definitely lacking in passion.

The wife, Rinko (Asuka Kurosawa) is a short haired sassy-looking lass who works as a counsellor manning a help hotline. Talking someone out of suicide, she preaches about living life to the maximum, which somehow stinks of hypocrisy because of her acceptance of mediocrity in her own married life, which we learn she's yearning for something physical, and had to resort to pleasuring herself. And as if to teach her a lesson to walk the talk, she receives an anonymous package containing a cellphone, and photographs of her in various states of undress and compromising positions.

Blackmailed, the caller's purpose became something of her awakening to the truth, as Shinya Tsukamoto puts his character through micro-mini skirts, stank toilets as well as being soaked through plenty of rain, all in all to play up the missing component of Rinko's life, where she needed probing (pardon the pun) to fully explore and understand what she was missing in having to play out her wildest fantasy for someone unknown who's watching her from some hidden angle.

And when you thought that everything's fine and dandy when Rinko does to the T what she was blackmailed to do, the narrative shifted from her to her husband, and then on to a combination of the couple with the perpetrator who now seemed more like a benefactor in opening up closed doors and opportunities to their personal desires.

It's a strange tale indeed lensed throughout under blue monochrome, that balanced some exploitative moments with a story set to titillate and with the realization of the missing component to the jigsaw of domestic affairs.

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