• Debauchery



    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: 2012.
    Director: Hidehiro Ito
    Cast: Ryoko Watanabe, Serine Nishikawa, Misuho Nakagawa
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From TLA Video

    The Movie:

    When a woman named Ami (Ryoko Watanabe), married to a kind and caring but not all together very exciting doctor, and her friend start talking about the possible thrills of kinky sex at a bar, they’re overheard by a compatriot of her husband’s. He tells them of the Madame Michiko Society Club where, if they want, they can do whatever they want. When questioned about how he knows so much about the club, he admits to going there once but notes that many of the women in the club’s employ are doing this to quench their own thirst for kink and that a lot of them get off on having sex with men who are complete strangers.

    Ami wastes no time heading to the Club and joining their ranks, the Madame who runs the establishment only too happy to bring on a woman as beautiful as she. After a brief explanation of how things work and a peek through a secret window into the boudoir where the action happens, Ami is off and running. Her first client is a massive man who beats her, whips her, binds her and has his way with her and while Ami may initially be hesitant, it’s soon obvious that she loves every second of it. As her need for increasingly perverse thrills grows, her marriage starts to feel the stress and that friend of her husband’s soon proves to be a problem. While all of this is going on, a disheveled older man carries on a strange relationship with a much younger woman.

    As more explicit adult films were being made in Japan for the home video market, Nikkatsu Studios had to counteract this and make up for dwindling theater attendance by upping their game with their popular line of Roman Porno films. By the time the early eighties rolled around, when this particular picture was made, the films had gotten pretty explicit and required optical fogging to comply with the censorship laws requiring that no pubic hair be shown on screen (there’s quite a bit of fogging in this movie). This didn’t stop filmmakers like Hidehiro Ito (who would go on to be quite a popular producer and bring many of Takashi Miike’s early works to light) from continuing to at least put some though provoking character development bits in amongst the bondage and the toy play. In this case, the cerebral side of the film comes from the plot points concerning Ami’s feelings towards her husband. She cares for him and loves him very much, she even says as much, but initially at least he just doesn’t turn her on and she can’t depend on him to satisfy her sexually. He’s a great provider for her, she wants for nothing in terms of material possessions or compassion, but Ami needs more than that to be content in life.

    There are also interesting psychological sides to most of the sex scenes, particularly Ami’s first experience working at the club. She notes after the long and rough session with one of the club’s most notorious clients that she felt like she was being broken in half, but she notes this not out of regret but instead out of amazement for how much she was actually able to feel.

    At seventy minutes long the film never overstays its welcome and if the bulk of that running time is made up of the requisite sex scenes, so be it – this film follows the established Roman Porno formula, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the genre. Ryoko Watanabe’s performance is excellent, however, as she actually shows some real emotional range and depth with her work here, proving to be more than just a pretty face and a pair of legs bound in rope. The film is shot with a good amount of style and while the fogging may prove distracting to some segments of a western audience, but overall this provides exactly what you’d want from a movie like this – sexy thrills, subversive set pieces, a beautiful lead actress, and some psychologically interesting twists right through to the film’s strange and completely unexpected finale.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Debauchery looks good in this 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are handled well and look quite natural as do skin tones, of which there are loads on display. Black levels aren’t quite inky deep but they’re strong and detail is pretty good across the board. There are no issues with print damage to complain about and overall this is a clean, sharp, good looking picture,

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is crisp and clean. The levels are well balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion. The optional English subtitles that are provided are free of any typos and easy to read.

    Extras on the disc are limited to a menu, chapter selection and the film’s salacious theatrical trailer. Inside the case is an insert containing original poster art for the feature and liner notes from film scholar/author Jasper Sharp that provide some details on where Nikkatsu was at around the time this film was made and some biographical details on the director and the leading lady.

    The Final Word:

    A dark and twisted journey through one woman’s attempts to connect to her increasingly kinky needs, Debauchery is well made, boldly performed and pretty damn sexy on top of that. Impulse’s DVD is light on extras but makes up for that with a strong presentation and some informative liner notes.