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Kino on Video presents
I Am An S+M Writer (2000)

Kurosaki: What did he say?
Kawada: He says that you're crazy, and are sexually perverted.
Kurosaki: That's right! Tell him that Shizuko's husband is crazy. Tell him that I am Japan's most perverted writer of erotic nonsense!

- Ren Osugi, Jun Murakami

Review By: Jeff Wilson  
Published: February 06, 2007

Stars: Ren Osugi, Yoko Hoshi, Jun Murakami
Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for strong sexual content, nudity, language, adult themes, violence
Run Time: 01h:27m:41s
Release Date: February 06, 2007
UPC: 698452204536
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B BB-B- C-

DVD Review

Japanese porn is filled with more than its share of sadomasochism, enough that satirical films like I Am An S+M Writer (Futei no kisetsu) certainly have their place. It probably resonates more within Japanese culture than it does outside of it, where bondage and violent sex play less of a general role in popular culture. Still, there is kinky fun to be had in this tale of a husband and wife who see their relationship change dramatically over the course of the writing of the husband's latest porn epic.

Kurosaki (Ren Osugi) is a successful writer of sadomasochistic porn novels, a career that has earned him and his wife Shizuko (Yoko Hoshi) a large, spacious home. But Kurosaki has fallen prey to a lack of inspiration, and he has taken to bringing in outside help: his assistant (and bondage fetishist) Kawada and revolving women enact bondage scenes in Kurosaki's office to get his mental juices flowing. Shizuko doesn't take well to this, repeatedly berating him during one meal as a pervert, and urging him to return to more respectable literature. Kurosaki refuses, and Shizuko kicks him out of their bedroom, initiating a flirtation with her English tutor (Brian William Churchill) and something rather more with Kawada. Her attempts to regain Kurosaki's attentions only spur him on to use her actions as further fodder for his book.

This film has been described as a look at the sexual awakening of Shizuko, but perhaps more important is the effect her actions have on Kurosaki, whose lack of interest in Shizuko is never really explained; his anger at her infidelity is momentary, and his subsequent attempts to win her back are half-hearted at best, an emotional extension of the bondage he writes about but is unable to actually carry out in real life. He tells Kawada about the rip-roaring sex life that he and Shizuko enjoyed early in their relationship, but he has no explanation as to why it died out, and neither for that matter does Shizuko. Shizuko's eventual explanation for her actions raises the question of whether she ever actually expected Kurosaki to respond positively to her, or to end their marriage once and for all.

The cast here turn in pretty brave performances, given the subject matter. Osugi, who some may have seen in several of Takeshi Kitano's films, fills out the role of the frustrated Kurosaki well, veering between extremes of confidence and hopelessness. As Kawada, Jun Murakami plays most of his scenes for comedy, but shows the other side of his character with Hoshi. Hoshi handles her role well, one that calls for some unusual behavior. The two leading men get the best moments, what with their earnest discussions of sex scene logistics and jaw-dropping reenactments. The film uses a half-hearted "this happened 20 years ago" flashback structure that doesn't make much sense, but it's easily enough ignored.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The print used here has a greenish cast to it; I don't know if that was the intended look for the film, but it seems to suit it. The anamorphic transfer isn't stellar, but it's decent enough for a direct-to-video project that didn't have huge sums spent on it.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 track is largely just dialogue, and as such is perfectly fine, though it seems like it could have been a little sharper.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Two text-based extras cover Hiroki's bio and filmography; also thrown in is the trailer, which is unsubtitled and nonanamorphic.

The optional white English subtitles feature a handful of typos.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

If you're expecting something relentlessly prurient, then you're looking at the wrong film. I Am An S+M Writer takes a darkly comedic look at the disintegrating marriage of the titular character. Not for the easily offended, but with a title like that, it's unlikely to surprise anyone. Kino's DVD isn't anything special, but considering the odds of getting a better release, I can live with this one.


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