THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAINR
Whatever else one can say about The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, it must ultimately be conceded that it is a sex film like no other. While that is far from a ringing endorsement, it is at the very least acknowledgement that herein is a film of at least some uniqueness, a feature that seems to be increasingly rare in these increasingly commodified days. After all, who would have thought that the work of Noam Chomsky could be so erotic?
Originally, Glamorous Life began as an hour-long entry (with the much less mysterious title Horny Home Tutor: Teacher's Love Juice) in Japan's popular soft-core "pink film" market, one controlled by a state censorship board, which allows no graphic images of sexual intercourse. Filling the need for plentiful low-budget product packed with nonsensical plots and simulated sex scenes, the pink-film industry has actually nurtured some important talents on their way up, like Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure) and Masayuki Suo (Shall We Dance?). From the evidence of Glamorous Life, however, director Mitsuru Meike is probably not due to be included in those filmmakers' august ranks.
Essentially a director's cut of Horny Home Tutor, the oddly ponderous 90-minute Glamorous Life follows what happens when Sachiko (Emi Kuroda)--a sex worker doing a good trade role-playing as a home tutor who has trouble keeping her clothes on--catches a bullet in the forehead while waiting for a co-worker in a café. Far from killing her, Sachiko's gaping and bloody wound only seems to have stunned her. Her assailant: a North Korean spy who just gunned down the man he was meeting with and who is desperate to find a finger-sized cylinder which accidentally ended up in Sachiko's possession during all the hubbub. Later, Sachiko finds that she now has a voracious intellectual, as well as sexual, appetite, and begins devouring books and ideas by the crateload.
As the spy goes on the hunt for Sachiko, she explores this new intellectual terrain, moving in with the family of a professor whom she seduced by rattling off the names and theories of various philosophers, including the one who really seems to get them both going: Chomsky. In between indulging the film's need for Sachiko to have loud, uncomfortable-looking and clumsily choreographed sex every few minutes, she discovers that the cylinder actually contains a replica of President George W. Bush's finger--something capable not only of unleashing Armageddon on the world if it falls into the wrong hands, but of bringing her extreme sensual pleasure (illustrated by a profoundly absurd scene in which she writhes naked on a rooftop while a TV plays Bush footage).
One can imagine a more intriguing variation on Glamorous Life being made several decades ago in the Vietnam War era, when the political and sexual worlds were more explicitly linked in the creative imagination--at least it would have had a good soundtrack. As it stands, the film is nothing more than a rapidly tiresome gag that barely seems to understand the knotty philosophical problems being posited by its lusty fembot heroine. The stabs at political humor are juvenile at best, and show that this is one pink film that should have known its own limitations from the start.