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  Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands Snuff Film Survivors
Year: 1967
Director: Atsushi Yamatoya
Stars: Miki Watari, Yuichi Minato, Shohei Yamamoto, Masayoshi Nogami, Noriko Tatsumi, Mari Nagisa, Akaji Maro, Taka Okubo, Hatsuo Yamatani
Genre: Sex, Action, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sho (Yuichi Minato) has been hired by an estate agent to track down his client's missing mistress, who was kidnapped by a rival gang to ensure he would not come through with property deals they were keen on for themselves. But it went further than that, as the gang also make sex reels, short films where women are stripped and abused, and the mistress in question has apparently been one of them - worse, she appears to have been murdered in the act, making this a snuff film! But the estate agent is unconvinced that she is dead, and implores Sho to find out for sure, a journey that will take him to the seediest areas of Japan and rubbing shoulders with plenty of deeply unsavoury characters...

Just like Sho, in fact, in one of the Japanese pinku eiga movies, or softcore sex films, that continue to be released in the country but were enjoying their first flush of success around the nineteen-sixties when the censorship rules were slackening and more sex and violence were permissible on the big screen. This one, also known as Dutch Wife in the Desert, or Koya no Dacchi waifu if you were local, garnered some interest outside of the usual obsessives for this sort of material thanks to its producer, Keiko Sato who was - gasp! - a woman! It seemed strange for a woman to be working in this genre, and that offered what was generally regarded as tawdry some mark of respectability thanks to its avant garde stylings from director Atsushi Yamatoya.

He penned a number of these films, though he also dabbled in slightly more respectable fare like Branded to Kill, but it was the pink movies he would earn his living from. The plot, such as it was, grew increasingly mired in imagery that both spoke to cliché and took a weirdo angle on what might have been typical, yet not in these hands. There was a sense that all involved were stuck with the most basic of missions: excite men, but wanted to aim for something more arty or even pretentious, though it is debatable how much of the latter was intended for any self-awareness or irony was not so much an aspect of the overall effect. However, every so often there would be a shot, or an entire scene, so striking that you would have to admit they were going beyond simple sexploitation and into a realm far more outre.

Now, that's not to say there were no issues with what was presented as entertainment here, as the fact remained they were still serving up scenes of barely characterised women being used as sex objects or even raped, and these sequences were plainly meant to be the highlights. Indeed, the audience were held in a kind of contempt throughout, as if you watching were being goaded at how base your desires were and what beasts men were for regarding material such as this as amusements. On the other hand, if you were a sensitive, New Man type you could view the film and wonder, well, is that what you really think of me when this is an example of what you think I would like? Heading off in a snit was optional, but for all its arthouse on a budget arrangements, there would be more people, women mostly, turned off than turned on. Though that pushing of the seamier side of life in the faces of the audience to challenge what they accepted did hold a certain boldness and outlaw vigour.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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