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Judge Brendan Babish • Location: Upland, CA
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Philadelphia Film Festival Review #6: The Glorious life of Sachiko Hanai
April 6th, 2006 9:02PM

Title: The Glorious Life of Sachiko Hanai
Director: Mitsuru Meike

“I usually know how an audience is going to respond to the films I pick,” a representative for the Philadelphia Film Festival told the audience before the screening. “But I have no idea how you're going to react to this. It's basically soft porn.” Light applause. “And it also advocates the execution of George W. Bush for war crimes.” Loud cheers.

Wow. Have things gotten this bad for the president? Even people in a purple state are cheering his execution?

Anyway. The Glorious Life of Sachiko Hanai is pretty much, as the man said, soft-core porn. My guess is it was made by imaginative college students, or extremely perverted adults. Judging from the film's extremely liberal political stance, my guess is college students.

Sachiko Hanai is a Tokyo prostitute. The film opens with a lengthy sex scene between her and a young, overzealous client. At the end of the session the young client ejaculates on Sachiko for about half a minute. If you find this amusing, you will probably enjoy the movie. If you find it puerile then I'll save you some time: you won't like this movie. It only gets worse from here.

While dining in a café Sachiko is shot in the head by a North Korean spy. The bullet lodges in her brain and gives her Good Will Hunting-like intelligence. Sachiko also has a voracious appetite for sex, although it is unclear whether the bullet caused that. She begins a tryst with a local professor, then movies on to his son, and eventually to the North Korean spy who shot her. In a particularly odd scene she also has sex with George W. Bush's finger. All of these encounters are shown in an extremely graphic detail (though, per Japanese obscenity laws, there is no penetration).

I could get into plot, but it really doesn't make much sense. It involves the cloning of George W. Bush's finger so a nuclear device can be detonated in Japan, but believe me, it doesn't matter. The film takes so many pit stops for graphic sex scenes it's obvious the filmmakers aren't concerned with story.

That said, the movie does have its charms. It's irreverent, it's original and whoever played Sachiko sure is a trooper. But the sex gets tedious quickly and even at a hair under 90 minutes the movie long overstays its welcome. Still, if a group of 14 year old boys watched this movie during a sleepover I wouldn't be surprised if they dubbed it was the best film ever made.

Grade: C


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