Friday, June 27, 2014

R100 - Japanese Mainstream Femdom Movie

Last year, as the London Fetish Scene rallied to raise money for the restoration of “Preaching to the Perverted” in an attempt to preserve the movie for the “fifty shades generation” (yes, really), a more interesting film with a BDSM theme began showing in Japan: R100.

Weird is probably the best word to describe it. Takafumi Katayama is an ordinary man who joins an S&M club. Dominatrices will show up unannounced and play with him in public. The catch: he has to stay submissive at all times. At first it is just harmless fun, the violence queen shows up in a coffee shop, then the destructive queen crushes his food in the restaurant followed by the voice queen, whip queen and the saliva queen. Each dominatrix has a more bizarre speciality than the one before, the queen of gobbling, she eats people, probably being the most outlandish one. Wikipedia summarizes it like this:
An ordinary man with an ordinary life joins a mysterious club. The membership lasts for one year only and there is one rule: no cancellation under any circumstance. The man enters into a whole new exciting world he never before experienced where crazy love goes wilder and crazier. Is it an illusion or is it real?

To the limit
When his little boy asks him what he is doing with that lady, the son ends up in bondage too. Enough is enough and Takafumi decides he wants out. Unfortunately rule number one is there are no early cancellations of the one year contract. The police asks him if he entered the agreement voluntarily: yes and if he likes it: also yes, is either unwilling or unable to help. Some reviewers think there is a lesson to be learned here. Kinky people have a right to be protected by the law if someone oversteps a boundary but then again what are the boundaries?
Trying to defend his son and himself from the club he resorts to violence, leading some to conclude that being a masochist inevitably leads to being a sadist.

With things starting to spin out of control the CEO, a Western woman, blonde hair and over  two meters tall, flies in from Singapore on her private jet to fix things. By now the movie has spiralled into bare nonsense. The CEO sends in wave after wave of ninja femdoms, who of course are unable to solve the problem that is Mr. Katayama. In the final scene Madame CEO herself steps in and solves the problem. And yes it has a happy end (of sorts).

For a Japanese audience a two meter tall Western giantess probably makes sense as CEO, but not for me. The screaming and shouting, the loss of self control are hard to reconcile with the roles of CEO and dominatrix and the contrast with the other queens in the movie is just too much. An understated Asian women would have worked better. Michelle Yeoh is an excellent choice, but probably to close to home for a Japanese audience.

No deeper meaning?
Director Hitoshi Matsumoto, a famous Japanese comedian already directed three films. The first hour of his fourth movie leaves you wondering, especially if you are not into kink, the last half hour the movie descends into incomprehensible chaos.

Is there a message to the movie? Probably not but for those who need one R100 may serve as a warning against letting your kink rule you rather than you rule your kink. Thank you Buddha. The downward spiral that living his sexual fantasies sets Takafumi Katayama on has to end in total self destruction. Then again probably even the director himself at times has been wondering about the deeper meaning of his own creation.

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