Judge William Lee loves it every which way but loose.
"It wouldn't be afternoon without an afternoon love affair, would it?"—Mimei
Impulse Pictures continues its Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection with this DVD release featuring the sleaziest title yet in the series. Despite its nakedly suggestive focus, I Love It From Behind! gives equal consideration to all angles. The best way to approach this movie from director Kôyû Ohara (True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues) is as a sex farce set in a shockingly promiscuous 1980s Tokyo. That perspective may help excuse the film's less-than-positive attitude toward homosexuality.
Mimei (Junko Asahina) is getting married in one month so she has returned to Tokyo determined to achieve her goal of collecting inkblot impressions of 100 different penises. Wasting no time upon her arrival, she takes a random salaryman to a hotel so she can add him to her collection. As she nears the completion of her art project, Mimei sets her sights on an egotist who believes he can have any woman he wants whenever he wishes. He says he will give Mimei his penis print only if she can bring him to orgasm. He's undergone special training to prolong his sexual performance, you see. She accepts his challenge, which leads to a hilarious sex marathon that rightly marks the climax of the story.
The movie's side story involves Mimei's lesbian friends Masumi (Mari Kishida) and Rei (Yumi Hayakawa). More accurately, the side story concerns their journey from lesbianism to heterosexuality. Virginal Masumi hasn't met the right man yet and Rei is scarred from a frightening encounter with a male office co-worker who turned out to be a sadomasochist. Once the women are convinced that their relationship isn't natural, they set out to find their ways back on the straight path. Firstly, Rei takes revenge on the co-worker during a reunion that employs ropes and inspiration from a buttery scene in Last Tango in Paris. However, she then applies her new bedroom technique for all of her future dates, taking pleasure in her ability to make men "turn gay."
In spite of its emphasis on sexual power dynamics, I Love It From Behind! is actually one of the lighter and more humorous entries in this collection of soft-core sex films from the famed Nikkatsu studio. The caveat is that viewers will have to overlook the movie's antiquated attitude toward homosexuality, which is not explicitly homophobic but is certainly ignorant, ridiculous and somewhat off-color even for a comedy. While we're contemplating the movie as a time capsule of bad taste, it's worth mentioning the clothes, the glasses and the men's permed hairstyles. It's pretty amazing to think these fashions would have been viewed as sexy in their day.
Kôyû Ohara's film is nicely paced in its short running time. Screen time is appropriately shared between the storylines of the three women though only Mimei's comes to a full conclusion. Care is taken with scene compositions and it's especially evident during the sex marathon how meticulous the camera angles, actors' positions and prop placements are. Frontal nudity below the belt is not allowed in these movies so I'd rather see a carefully placed fruit bowl than an optical effect used to cover up the offensive bits. There are two instances early in the film where ugly optical effects are used.
The picture quality on this DVD is good the majority of the time with only a few wide shots looking a little soft. The norm though is a satisfyingly sharp and clean image. There is one scene where it appears several frames are missing so the video flashes black frames but it's only momentarily distracting. The picture has a warm bias, which favors earthy tones and healthy looking skin color. A conventional widescreen format is promised on the box but curiously the picture is framed in an unusual aspect ratio of approximately 2.15:1 anamorphic widescreen, which works fine for the compositions. The two-channel mono soundtrack does its job in delivering clear dialogue and music when needed. One thing notable about the soundtrack: the Nikkatsu banner film clips that open each of these Impulse Pictures DVDs borrows the brassy, jazzy music by Hachiro Kai from this movie.
Jasper Sharp again provides a short essay in the form of a two-page booklet inserted in the case. This time he writes about the career of director Kôyû Ohara, covering his varied work for Nikkatsu and his films after he left the studio.
With such a brazenly sleazy title and tawdry cover art, I Love It From Behind! probably isn't a DVD that can easily be displayed on your shelf. Yet, it's one of the more fun entries in the Nikkatsu erotic films series. The fashions and the attitudes have gone out of date, but the humor and the sexiness are still enjoyable.
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Studio: Impulse Pictures
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