Judge William Lee wants to know the Japanese word for "shower."
"I've given my body to men lots of times because it made them happy. But to me, it's no big deal"—Sueko
Impulse Pictures continues its line of Nikkatsu erotic films with its eighth DVD release, Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon. Coincidentally, this title was also the eighth entry in a themed series, though there was no continuity between the films. Film historian Jasper Sharp explains the appeal of the series in the liner note insert included with the disc:
"The lusty schoolmistress provided an obvious fantasy figure for Nikkatsu to build its Roman Porno scenarios around, with the company releasing at least a dozen films under the Female Teacher banner, each pitting a plethora of pert young cuties against their more mature and experienced classroom rivals."
Curiously, director Kichitaro Negishi's film only pays lip service to the high-school theme of the series and the action takes place almost entirely on the streets of Tokyo. The teacher of the title is Sakiko Kurata (Yuki Kazamatsuri, Kill Bill: Volume 1), who receives a call from an ex-student out of the blue. It's been years since she briefly taught Sueko Nomoto (Ayako Ôta) during a substitute job at a remote town. Now, Sueko is in trouble in the city after being picked up on suspicion of prostitution. The young girl has a habit of picking up strangers for sex but she isn't charging them. In fact, her habit is to talk too much and make belittling remarks when they're getting intimate. Sakiko investigates the girl's history and uncovers unpleasant memories of her own. While working at the remote mining town, Sakiko was brutally raped by an unknown assailant. Sakiko identified a man and he went to jail but what if she was wrong? Sakiko and Sueko will have to come to terms with their linked histories if they're to overcome the neuroses that haunt them today.
The central mystery of the movie is adequately complex for its running time of just over one hour. There aren't any significant plot twists, just a gradual unveiling of truths as our heroine gathers clues. It's an interesting take on a crime story as well, with Sakiko questioning her memory of the past and attempting to right a possible injustice. Sueko's troubled relationship with men has something to do with the absence of a healthy father figure. I'll admit that I didn't really have the patience to dwell on the film's psychoanalytical theories but I appreciated how it was treating the characters' motivations rather seriously.
This is a Nikkatsu film with its requisite abundance of exploitation standbys, but I found the sex scenes to be quite forgettable. Aside from the flashback to Sakiko's rape, the sex scenes all felt somewhat tired and generic. Even the staging of those moments showed a decreasing amount of effort. Early scenes used carefully placed props to obscure pubic hair and naked male buttocks. As the film progressed, this was a lesser concern and so the censor's grey blurry blobs increasingly appear on screen.
With past Nikkatsu titles from Impulse Pictures, I've been impressed by the very good picture quality. Unfortunately, this title proves to be an exception. Colors are slightly faded in some scenes and there is a brown tinge over the movie in general so it does look its age. The image sharpness is inconsistent. A few very brief instances of jerky action might indicate the source print was missing frames. The mono soundtrack does a good job mixing together strong dialogue, a full soundscape of environmental sounds and occasional, generic-sounding, English-language pop tunes.
The trailer is included as a disc extra. Jasper Sharp's two-page introduction to the movie is a physical insert. His notes have little to say about the film aside from explaining a brief history of the Female Teacher series. Sharp devotes much of the space to naming Negishi's peers around this time of Nikkatsu's history and telling what they got up to professionally away from or after their involvement with the studio.
Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon doesn't live up to the promise of its title, but it's an interesting drama about two women questioning the role of men in their lives. The technical quality is a bit short of previous Nikkatsu releases but it's not unacceptable considering the age of the movie. A rental recommendation only for those who can't get enough vintage Japanese sleaze.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Impulse Pictures
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