Review: ‘Pink Ribbon’

Roughly the equivalent of the soft-core porn flicks that populate American late-night cable, but filtered through a distinctly Japanese sensibility, "pink" movies have been a staple of Japan's cinematic diet for more than 40 years.

Roughly the equivalent of the soft-core porn flicks that populate American late-night cable, but filtered through a distinctly Japanese sensibility, “pink” movies have been a staple of Japan’s cinematic diet for more than 40 years. Their production still accounts for some 25% of all domestic pics. Documenting the phenomenon from its beginnings up to the present day, Kenjiro Fujii’s “Pink Ribbon” offers an affectionate, but fatally overlong history that, with some much-needed trimming, could attract a fair amount of fest interest.

Right from its opening frames, in which horror film maestro Kiyoshi Kurosawa recounts his own early days as a pink filmmaker, pic makes the point that pink directors tend to receive significant artistic freedom, provided they satisfy the basic requirements of six to seven sex scenes per film. Fujii introduces a host of colorful behind-the-scenes characters and treats aud to excerpts from classic pink productions sporting such irresistible titles as “Fish Bait Boobies” and “The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl.” But pic bogs down enormously in its final third, when it narrows its focus to the production of a single forthcoming pink film.

Pink Ribbon

Japan

Production

An Uplink Co. production. (International sales: Uplink Co., Tokyo.) Produced by Asai Takashi. Directed, written, edited by Kenjiro Fujii.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Fujii;music, Izumi Tai. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Dragons & Tigers, noncompeting), Sept. 28, 2004. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Koji Wakamatsu, Kazuyuki Izutsu, Masao Adachi, Banmei Takahashi, Yumi Yoshiyuki.
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