WET WOMAN IN THE WIND

★★★

A SEXY STRUGGLE FOR CONQUEST

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Charlie David Page
11th June 2017

Japanese culture is endlessly fascinating; there’s always something new to learn. Like, perhaps, a wave of theatrical softcore pornographic films created by movie studio Nikkatsu were prevalent between 1971 and 1988, and were known as Roman Porno films. Now, a homage has been crafted by director and student of Roman Porno, Akihiko Shiota, entitled ‘Wet Woman in the Wind’.

Kosuke (Tasuku Nagaoka, ’Why Don't You Play in Hell?’) is a Tokyo-based playwright who has escaped the city and constructed a small shack in the woods on the edge of the mountains to get some peace and quiet - particularly from the women in his life. However, when a girl on a bicycle literally crash-lands in his life, his world is thrown into turmoil. The girl, Shiori (Yuki Mamiya, ‘The Crawler in the Attic’), wants him, but he wants nothing to do with her. She becomes a constant in his life, and as Kosuke’s desire for her grows, so does the sexual friction between the pair.

'WET WOMAN IN THE WIND' TRAILER

‘Wet Woman’ is one of several commissions by Nikkatsu to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Roman Porno, and guidelines of the most common traits had to be adhered to: films had to be under 80 minutes long, be shot in under a week, and have at least one sex scene every 15 minutes. There’s no need to have a stopwatch handy for the latter - the libidos of the characters in this film are extraordinary. Playing a sexual game of cat-and-mouse, Kosuke and Shiori’s relationship builds to an intense climax before they become intimate, using any other characters around them to get their way.

Interestingly, the film has a lot to say about the sexual power of women. Shiori and her female counterparts are invariably in control of their sexual encounters, while the men appear merely as participants. Sex here isn’t generally about emotions; it’s an act of desire without reflection or attachment. Still, beyond the copious copulation, there’s very little storyline other than romantic conquest.

Sex here isn’t generally about emotions; it’s an act of desire without reflection or attachment.

Tasuku and Yuki have a remarkable chemistry together, vital to lift this above generic porn. They bounce off each other spectacularly, both with scathing words and erotic proclamations, for the duration of the film. Their interaction is something of a game, with an endless gamut of rules they can play by. At the very beginning, Shiori propositions Kosuke, but he turns her down, yet as time goes on and his feelings change, he begins trying to entice her, much like a male peacock. The results are somewhat humorous, and the two leads provide much better performances than the material deserves.

Perhaps there’s a reason Roman Porno films ceased nearly 30 years ago: there simply isn’t enough substance to make them compelling. While ‘Wet Woman in the Wind’ is provocative and a modern homage to its predecessors, its sexual dexterity certainly outperforms its intellectual endurance.

Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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