The landlord of a boarding house in 1923 Tokyo, is keen on spying on the bizarre close encounters taking place beneath his roof. One day he sees a prostitute killing a customer, and decides he's found his soulmate.
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Based on a story by well-praised Japanese writer Edogawa Rampo. In Tokyo, 1923, Saburo Gouda is exploring secrets of his fellow-occupants of an apartment building. All from above, using spy-holes bored in ceilings of his neighbors rooms. After he sees a meeting between aristocratic (and bored) Lady Minako and a clown, he realizes, that pursuit of Minako's blooming dark realm of senses is drawing themselves by the corruption they both experience and cause. Written by
Unsettling erotic horror that becomes more compelling as it goes...
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for - I'd bought the DVD when I needed another to pair up on a bundle offer.
I had presumed that it was along the lines of some of the more recent, successful Japanese horrors that have used underplayed but still disturbing feels of paranoia and doom.
Excuse if I don't go into the narrative twists and turns; the scenario describes that fine. I DID find the screen very gloomy and with very low contrast and it looked like it was on predictable 'peeping tom' route to being a waste of time and money. It was only going to take just over 70 minutes, though, so....
First of all, the scenes being spied upon (I found) totally un-erotic, though not quite distasteful, but nearly so. Maybe partly because it looked so dark and claustrophobic, one peered even harder and concentrated harder. After about half an hour of feeling slightly ill at ease the story took over and with some lighter relief as the character list expanded and we could place better who they were and what they (supposedly) did.
Toward the end, the whole experience I found to be as compelling - and weird, as say Pan's Labrynth. The final scenes were as thought provoking and chilling as well as memorable as any that I've seen in Japanese cinema.
I wouldn't flag this one up as a 'must', but if you get the chance and if the mood suits and you start, go the distance. You'll be amply rewarded.
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