Tooyama, an aging impotent art critic, sends his much-younger wife, Shizuko, to Paris to evaluate the work of Ikegami, an artist he sponsors. She discovers she's curious about sado-masochism, and soon she becomes Ikegami's object of bondage as well as his muse. Encounters with Ikegami lead her into a shadowy world of wealthy patrons of ropes, humiliation, and slavery. Ikegami discovers his protective side, and Tooyama reenters the picture. Once Shizuko can reestablish control over her life, she can make a choice. Written by
Aging critic and patron of the arts Takayoshi Tooyama (Jô Shishido) sends his drop-dead gorgeous young wife Shizuko (Aya Sugimoto) to Paris to report on the progress of painter Ikegami (Ken'ichi Endô), whom he has sponsored for the past ten years. To her consternation, Shizuko discovers that Ikegami has been less than prolific, having completed none of his paintings. Things change, however, when the artist adopts Shizuko as his muse, convincing her to pose for an erotic piece based on sado-masochism; soon, the pair become lovers, their passion fuelled by tight ropes and intricate knots.
On completion of the first work, Shizuko is convinced by Ikegami's sister to try and sell the painting to a secret society who deal in erotic art, bondage, humiliation, and human slavery. Unsurprisingly, the arrangement goes terribly wrong and Shizuko is subjected to a series of terrifying sexual ordeals, under the watchful eyes of a familiar-looking grey-haired man in the audience.
Like an idiot, I watched this sequel before the original film, despite also having that in my collection; on the strength of part two, though, I'll definitely be checking out the first one, if only to see more of the incredible Aya Sugimoto, who is unfeasibly sexy and makes Flower and Snake II a pleasure to behold even when the going is very slow.
As erotic Japanese cinema goes, this one is a grade-A trouser-stirrer, with the scrummy Sugimoto happily submitting herself to all kinds of degradation in order to satisfy the viewer's cravings for perversion. Of course, director Takashi Ishii makes everything look as artful as possible to give proceedings an undeniable air of class (his film even resembling Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut towards the end), but when it all comes down to it, Ishii is out to arouse his audience, and does so effortlessly, with endless shots of his naked star in all manner of awkward poses, with only a slip of cloth, a carefully positioned leg, or a bright spotlight preventing the viewer from becoming REALLY well acquainted with her nether regions.
7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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