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Confidential: Secret Market (1974)
"(Maruhi) shikijô mesu ichiba" (original title)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 164 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

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Cast

Credited cast:
Meika Seri ...
Tome Marunishi
Junko Miyashita ...
Fumie Hirabayashi
Genshû Hanayagi ...
Yone Marunishi
Moeko Ezawa ...
Yuri
Sakumi Hagiwara ...
Atsushi Saito
Shiro Yumemura ...
Jitsuo Marunishi
Akira Okamoto ...
Hajime Terasaka
Akira Takahashi ...
Asami
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Hyôe Enoki ...
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Ikunosuke Koizumi ...
Ginji Hori
Nagatoshi Sakamoto ...
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Kenji Shimamura ...
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11 September 1974 (Japan)  »

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Confidential: Secret Market  »

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CONFIDENTIAL: SEXUAL MARKET (Noburo Tanaka, 1974) ***
31 March 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This was another Japanese film I had never heard of prior to its appearance during the Italian TV "After Hours" programme. Considering the clearly exploitative title (apparently this was just one of a series of such films!), I was expecting a sort of Asian semi-documentary of the "Mondo" variety but instead it turned out to be a reasonably compelling character drama with a good leading performance from Meika Seri as a young but strong-willed prostitute surviving in modern-day Japan.

While it's basically a series of often perverse sexual encounters between Seri and a variety of clients (and it's certainly the most explicit out of all the Asian flicks I've watched recently), the film also follows her relationship with her dysfunctional 'family': the mother is an ageing prostitute whose clients are beginning to shun her for her daughter, especially after she has been newly impregnated; her retarded brother is allowed to spy on the love-making and the girl (without any real thought of abuse or even incest) occasionally indulges him as well because, as she tells him: "After all, you're a man too!"; her pimp is a selfish bully but she manages to stand up to him, after which he is forced to take on a couple of needy and inexperienced lovers instead (an episode which has a literally explosive conclusion).

However, the most surprising factor about the film is how well it's actually made with the inventive camera-work being of special interest; near the end (the scene of the retarded boy going mad and committing suicide, and which features footage involving a chicken that wouldn't go down well with Animal Rights activists!) it switches briefly to color, albeit with a heavy bluish tone. The eclectic music score – alternating between synthesizer/heavy-rock passages and traditional Japanese songs – is another major asset.

Interestingly, while the lead actress later appeared (in a supporting role) in Nagisa Oshima's notorious sex-fest AI NO CORRIDA aka IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (1976), director Noburo Tanaka had actually filmed that same story himself under the name A WOMAN CALLED SADA ABE (1975)!


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