Friday, September 7, 2007

Tokyo X Erotica (Japan 2001)

The year is 1997 and a man by the name of Kenji traveling through the tunnel underneath an overpass on his scooter. He stops when he finds a slew of dead bodies lying on the floor. He goes to investigate the bodies to see if he can help, but by the time he realizes what has happened, he's overcome by the toxic gas that has flooded the tunnel. He falls to the ground, dying from the fumes, when he begins to remember what an old girlfriend had once asked him. "Which is longer, the time before birth, or the time after death?" Meanwhile, Kenji's ex-girlfriend Haruka, who is working as a prostitute, is standing by a street corner watching a man in a bunny costume promoting a local shop. She slowly makes her way to him and invites her services. After Haruka expertly services the man, he seems to go bi-polar and begins to degrade her and questions all of the choices she's made in life. His tirade becomes more violent and the man ends up strangling Haruka to death. That marks the time that Kenji and Haruka both died. Welcome to 1995, where the couple are alive and not so well because they've just broken up and Haruka isn't dealing with it well. We then move on to a woman who is waiting for her lover and watching the news on television which begins to describe that the gas in the tunnels were the result of a terrorist attack. Her lover shows up and after the two have sex, we're transported to 1989 where we meet a younger Kenji and Haruka who are meeting with friends to party and hang out. There's a little cheating done on Haruka's part with the other two friends and once again we are whisked away to 2002 when the same couple is alive and well...again. However, now it seems as if it's just the same lead actors playing different parts. Although, relationships and death are still all in question.

Tokyo X Erotica is an example of what is called pink cinema. Where basically a movie's story is hidden within a lot of soft-core sex scenes. So if that's not your thing, you might want to stay clear of this due it's graphic depictions of sex. Tokyo X Erotica's story of life and death with sex can be a bit confusing at times due to the way the story hops around different time periods. There is a narration that tries to fill in all the little holes and move things along, but sometimes it ends up doing more bad than good. The uses of color and black and white are subject to the viewers interpretation. I believe it represents death and the times of their lives that they get to choose to live. This is the basic theme in the movie that gets explored every time you meet the characters in a different time period. There are also documentary-style interviews with random people and some of the main characters throughout different times in their lives. The interviews explore how these people live and if they're living their lives the way they truly want to. There are some key references and items that show up throughout to aid in the life and death mystery, but these soon become afterthoughts. The actors and their performances are all pretty decent, and the cinematography holds up too. Director Takahisa Zeze does a lot better with this film than say...Moon Child. All in all it's just hard to say if the adventure is really worth it. I just wanted things to be a little tighter with the story because it has an interesting premise. So if you do watch Tokyo X Erotica for just the simulated sex, you'll only be getting a few scenes and you'll be missing the point of the film all together. However, if you watch it for the story, you'll be left wanting more. (Converter)

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