The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai
My thoughts behind movie reviews are different than typical movie reviews. I'm not going to write a lengthy review about any old thing. I only review things for one reason and one reason only--I want to convince you that whatever it is I'm reviewing is worth your time.
Which is why I have to review this movie, even if I know that 90% of people should probably never see The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai. Not because the movie is bad. Though it is. And not because it's genres and background would turn off most people to begin with. Though they do.
The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai is a Japanese film. A pink film. Pink films, for those not in the know (don't worry, I didn't either) are Japan's equivalent to Cinemax softcore porn. The movies are typically low-budget and based more around titillation than gratuitousness. A large part of that comes from Japan's rules on adult material (can't show the 'working bits') that reemphasizes the storytelling element. Well over a hundred of these pink films are made and released every year, but they're almost unheard of outside of Japan.
I know you're ready to move on now, but please, stay with me. It gets more interesting from here.
So, why tell you about this one? Because this one breaks the mold. Originally conceived as a typical pink film entitled Horny Home Tutor: Teacher's Love Juice, the film played so well that the director was allowed to go back and expand it with an extra half hour of footage.
The result? Insanity. And awesomeness.
The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai is the story of a cheerfully vapid prostitute named Sachiko. While having dinner one night, she witnesses a violent restaurant altercation between a North Korean agent and a Middle Eastern man. In a sudden firefight, she's shot in the head. But not fatally. Instead, the bullet lodges itself in her brain in a way that awakens mental powers she didn't know she had. Genius intelligence, ESP, and some humorous sensory lag.
Oh, and in the scuffle, she picks up a cylinder. The same cylinder that the North Korean killed the Middle Eastern for.
Oblivious to that, she begins to wander the streets, until she stumbles across a book vendor and rips through a tome of metaphysical philosophy. Digesting it in seconds, she finds the professor who wrote the book and begins to debate metaphysics with him. She then gets hired on as the tutor to the professor's sullen teenage son.
At the same time, the North Korean agent begins to pursue her. He needs what's in that tube. The object? The cloned finger of US President George W Bush, which can be used to launch nuclear weapons to anywhere in the world. If North Korea gets it, they'll be able to rule the world.
Oh, and did I mention that Bush's cloned figure is sentient, and also might want to bring about the end of the world?
The film is just one thing after another, insanity and surrealism stacked upon one another. It doesn't help that each setpiece is punctuated by a hilariously perfunctory and terrible softcore sex scene. Don't worry, you won't see anything that you wouldn't see in any R-rated film. And none of it is particularly enthralling.
But as punctuation to the story of philosophy and nuclear proliferation, it's absolutely hilarious. The best scene comes when the finger of George Bush comes alive and decides to violate Sachiko. As she lies on a rooftop, the finger worms its way into her panties (and elsewhere) and an abandoned TV nearby suddenly comes to life as George Bush (a man with a picture of George Bush pasted over his head) begins to spout the rhetoric of the Iraqi war in an entirely new context (e.g. "We don't need the Security Council's permission to invade! We will find them in caves!")
A film this out there is hard to pin down. And it's definately not for everyone. But I'm pretty sure that anyone who would appreciate it would know that they're that person just from my rough summary. It definately transcends the sum of its parts--the goofy philosophical dialogue, the political statements, and the constant sex--to make something that's both hilariously entertaining and surprisingly well-thought-out. From the terribly cliche beginning to the ridiculous Japanese rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that closes the movie, it all works. Inexplicably, subversively.
Like a bullet to the brain.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai