December 2, 2014 – 4:59 am

If only it was a myriad of sins under the cover of a blanket in Hisayasu Sato’s The Bedroom (aka Unfaithful Wife: Shameful Torture, 1992). Throw in a peeping tom of a husband, drugged-out sex and a broken psyche and it’s one hallucinatory ride. Stephen Tan reviews.

Kyoko looks like a bored housewife, and she is sexually rejected by her husband who doesn’t want any of that “family life” stuff - “food, bath, bed… I’m not interested in that kind of life”. Surprisingly, when he jumps on her, she accuses her husband of being too rough! In return, Kyoko takes up a lover; spends her time videotapeing; and visiting a sex club referred to as The Bedroom.

At The Bedroom, the women are given Halcion capsules that knock them out. After which the men “clients” are free to do whatever they want with the unconscious women. It’s not difficult to imagine what the men do next - they unbutton Kyoko’s blouse; fondle her breasts; pull down her panties and penetrate her. Another rubs oil/lotion all over her body taking extra care with her private parts. It’s also not an orgy as these are one-on-one “transactions”.

On one visit, Kyoko discovers that her sister, Maya, has died apparently from an overdose. On another occasion, Kyoko meets another woman at The Bedroom and the two discover another dead body. The two strike up a kind of friendship. Meanwhile, Kyoko enjoys frisky and passionate sex with her boyfriend.

At The Bedroom, Kyoko decides to remain conscious and stops taking the capsules in order to “participate” in her experiences. (But it doesn’t appear to lead to anything more.) Finding another woman slashed to death, Kyoko tries to question club owner Mr Takano (who only “appears” as a voice). She returns home to find her boyfriend drugged-out and thinks he’s the one who killed the woman. She stabs him after accusing him of loving her (dead) sister more.

As she’s stuffing her dead boyfriend into the fridge, Kyoko’s husband shows up. He has been Mr Takano all along and has been trying to protect Kyoko, who has been killing the other women in the club. But the truth is that she is really Maya, who became unhinged and taken on her dead sister’s Kyoko’s identity.

Directo Hisayasu Sato has some impressive-looking pinku eiga (Japanese soft porn) films under his belt - Splatter: Naked Blood (featuring a woman eating her labia, her nipple and then her eyeball); Lolita: Vibrator Torture and the Molester movies. The Bedroom (aka Unfaithful Wife: Shameful Torture, 1992), while more surreal looking appears to have too many things going for it.

Invasion of privacy; “Big Brother” is watching you; voyuerism; a form of bondage sex; alienation and a breakdown of the personality - these are not nice, little boxes that Sato ticks off one by one. The film is often shown as a dream-like state and it is not often clear what’s real and what’s not. It’s also possible the whole “film” has been a dream. The film opens with a naked woman wrapped in plastic. It ends with the woman unwrapping herself; faces the camera and hears the words, “Welcome back”.

To “protect” his wife, Takano spies on her through a remote camera hidden in the emergency light. The notion of looking/voyuerism is further deepened by Kyoko and her boyfriend videotaping each other and, at one stage, Kyoko even videotapes herself masturbating. Even at the end, Takano seems more interested in filming Kyoko/Maya breaking down and crawling into the fridge than really helping her.

However, The Bedroom sex club does play up the idea of an acquiscent Asian woman - a woman so drugged out that she’s oblivious to what’s being done to her. It’s the perfect date rape drug for a woman who doesn’t want to feel anything! But that in itself is the problem. Why would a woman bother to have sex when she isn’t conscious? Also, there is no explanation for Kyoko’s strong attachment to her dead sister nor why The Bedroom is a form of “treatment” room for Kyoko, other than to make her more promiscuous!

And the film really needs the explanation by Takano at the end to sort of unravel things. That alone shows how fuzzy The Bedroom can be and how to make sense of it in the first place. While some of the sex scenes may come across as lurid, this is not enough to generate enough sympathy for Kyoko/Maya and one only pities the character with a shattered psyche whose only refuge is to crawl back into the cold embrace of a fridge.

Note: The Bedroom DVD is banned in $ingapore.

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