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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
I might not live in an attic, but with my first viewing of Watcher in the Attic, I was converted to the charms of actress Junko Miyashita. I have since watched Miyashita in other films, but her performance in Watcher in the Attic remains my favorite. Here she plays Minako Sayanomiya, a bored rich wife in 1923 Tokyo, who keeps a room in a boarding house so she can have some clown be her love slave. Literally, the guy is dressed up like a clown. The residents at this boarding house have their own kinks. One of them likes to go up to the attic and look down into the rooms. Minako sees the eye watching her from a hole in the ceiling and is turned on. This experience changes both the voyeur and the victim, leading to murder.
Watcher in the Attic straddles many genres. It is a psychological thriller, a period drama, and a (very) steamy piece of erotica. It is usually listed as a "pink film." The term fits, but it is different than bondage films like Flower and Snake. Influenced by the writings of Edogawa Rampo, this film goes places that most American films would not. The characters in this world have rough edges and go to extremes to satisfy their desires. At the film's heart is the character of Minako Sayanomiya, beautiful, elegant, dominant, and cruel. Junko Miyashita brings the character to life in a way that both arouses and frightens the viewer.
I first saw Watcher in the Attic on a dubbed off VHS tape transferred from a PAL source. This copy made the film look dark. However, the Mondo Macabro DVD reveals a stately shot film which looks like a prestigious drama . . . with a lot of nasty behavior. The DVD was a revelation to this viewer. It made a good film even better, and the beautiful Junko Miyashita shine even brighter. This is not a film for all viewers, but at less than eighty minutes, Watcher in the Attic does not outstay its welcome. Curious viewers, even those not as taken with Junko Miyashita, should give this one a try.
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