Anchiporuno [Antiporno] (2016)

Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono
Cast: Ami TomiteMariko TsutsuiAsamiFujikoAmi FukudaHonoka IshibashiYûya Takayama
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017

Kyoko (Ami Tomite) is a young artist who takes great pleasure in humiliating her assistant Noriko (Mariko Tsutsui). But as their sexually charged relationship unfolds, things keep shifting.

I saw the trailer of the film and I was very doubtful that I would like it. But I didn’t think I’d actively hate it. It took me about five minutes to arrive at that point though, and even though I tried to give it more of a chance, I didn’t succeed.

Antiporno claims to be a feminist statement on porn. Or on women’s sexuality. Or both. And from the few reviews I browsed, people do seem to see the film’s points. I unfortunately couldn’t. For me, it was less a comment on the patriarchal and paternalistic structures that govern a lot of the porn industry than a simple re-enactment of them.

While the two women – who are constantly humiliated for the audience and the men who later appear in the film – bear the force of the film and get pimped out in pretty much every possible way, both in the story-world and outside of it, the men remain cyphers who don’t really seem to be involved in much of anything here. That means the film, to me, felt like an examination of the ways women oppress women and leave men out of the equation.

After struggling through the first half of the film and not being able to see anything other than exploitation, I gave up and allowed myself to fall asleep. Maybe the second half would have really make the criticism work, but honestly, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t wait for it.

Be that as it may, I do have to say that I liked the amazing set and how they used colors. The film looks stunning. And I did like the meta-twist that completely changes the context of the film. That was very well done. But it really wasn’t enough to make the film bearable for me.

Summarizing: Hard pass.

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