Review: ‘Box Lunch’

Part mockumentary on the adult video biz, part self-reflection on a porn director's aspirations, "Box Lunch" is two short features trying to be one. Consistently inventive, sometimes very funny and finally rather touching, porn helmer Shungo Kaji's "docu" about a porn helmer called Shungo Kaji could enjoy a brief specialized career with the right marketing, if tightened by 15 minutes.

Part mockumentary on the adult video biz, part self-reflection on a porn director’s aspirations, “Box Lunch” is two short features trying to be one. Consistently inventive, sometimes very funny and finally rather touching, porn helmer Shungo Kaji’s “docu” about a porn helmer called Shungo Kaji could enjoy a brief specialized career with the right marketing, if tightened by 15 minutes.

First hour has Kaji, poised in a helmer’s chair, telling us of his days as a film student sneaking into Nikkatsu’s studios and watching porn movies being shot. Now, as an adult-video exec, he takes us through all stages of planning, production and packaging, bawling out his incompetent staff. Last 40 minutes are less docu-like, as Kaji “discovers” a starlet called Saki (Saki Shiratori) and relentlessly bullies her into learning the trade. Apart from being well observed and acted (especially by Shiratori as the quietly ambitious kid), this section develops a curiously melancholic style of humor, as Kaji’s desire to be taken seriously as a “film director” is revealed. For the record, Kaji has made over 1 ,000 adult videos; “Box Lunch” is Japanese slang for sex while standing.

Box Lunch

(JAPAN)

Production

A Hot Pictures Co. production. (International sales: Hot Entertainment Co., Tokyo.) Produced by Shinsuke Kaji. Executive producer, ShungoKaji. Directed, written by Shungo Kaji. Camera (B&W), Koichi Ishii; editor, Naoki Kaneko. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 12, 2000. Original title: Ekiben. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

With: Saki Shiratori, Shungo Kaji, Chocoball Mukai.
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