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I first saw FLOWER AND SERPENT in the eighties at the Thalia. It was part of a wonderful film series on Japanese B-moviesmovies regular Japanese folks see, not artsy Kurosawa flicks. Several audience members walked out in disgust within the first few minutes, but I stayed, fascinated. It was the firstand still onlyJapanese bondage comedy I had ever seen.
A young, sexually impotent salaryman lives at home with his dominatingliterally mother. She produces "kinbaku" (bondage) movies in the basement to make ends meet. When the salaryman's boss discovers stills from the mother's work in the salaryman's desk, the boss mistakenly assumes the salaryman is a "nawashi" (bondage master) and orders him to kidnap and train the boss's sexually unresponsive wife. Complications ensue when the wife and salaryman fall in love with each other.
This movie is frankly not for everyone. It depends on how comfortable you are, for example, with a running subplot involving enemas. Can screwball romantic comedy and hardcore bondage scenes peacefully coexist? Imagine THE STORY OF O as written/directed by Preston Sturges and you'll have some idea. (The closest modern, Western equivalent is SECRETARY.) I recently stumbled across a DVD of FLOWER AND SERPENT at Kim's under the title FLOWER AND SERPENT '74. Apparently, the movie has been remade several times, and there have been numerous sequels. It was every bit as bizarre as I remembered it. If you want to see a truly unusual movie, and get some insight into the dark underbelly of Japanese culture, this is a good place to start.
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