I saw this film on late-night British TV (where it was retitled 'The Virgin Courtesan') and can honestly say I haven't laughed so much in years! It plays like a raucous soft-porn parody of 'My Fair Lady' or 'Born Yesterday.' A wide-eyed innocent ventures into a corrupt, alien world - and reduces it to a shambles with her own brand of goofy integrity. Any plot summary makes it sound gross, gratuitous and offensive. How can we laugh at a film where a 'mentally challenged' girl gets sold into prostitution? Especially one that includes a long and drawn-out 'comic' rape scene akin to Almodovar's 'Kika'?
Incredibly enough, laugh we can and laugh we do. The humour is raunchy and outrageous - and often very black. Yet director Chusei Sone has an elegance and lightness of touch that ensures it's never vulgar and (more important, perhaps) never cruel. Not even a closing act of necrophilia can shatter the film's overall good spirits, or our liking for its 'dumb but honest' heroine
whose naivete about sex and her own body makes her an unlikely feminist
figure in patriarchal 19th century Japan. This film is a gem! Don't miss it!
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