The Glamorous Life Of Sachiko Hanai – Derby Film Festival review

To say that The Glamorous Life Of Sachiko Hanai is a “good” movie would be to over-play its hand. Even to suggest it is “enjoyable” would be a strange assertion.

This cult Japanese “pink film” is an assault on the senses. A cinematic mash-up of softcore pornography, video art, absurdist comedy and political satire Mitsuru Meike’s creation is not as sexy as it would hope, nor as clever or as silly, but with its constant trickle of risky ideas, abusively edited, it is a must watch.

Call girl Sachiko becomes embroiled in a bizarre international spy collision, that sees her surviving a gun-shot to the head, gaining advanced mental abilities and entering into a strange relationship with the cloned finger of George W. Bush (which is also central to a world-conquering plot). Her scrambled mind gives her entra-sensory perception, advanced mathematical knowledge and (given the movies ‘pink’ nature) a massively increased sex drive.

That little lot only just about covers the insanity that unfolds. Sure, there is a lot of gratuitous sex, with a lot on show regularly (and some fairly base jokes) but some of the political collages and subtle comedy moments make this so much more than a “sex” film, or less depending on how you view it.

Much of the dialogue here is bizarre, uniformly clunky and non-sensical but with great performances this all appears deliberate in the weird context of the piece.

When you consider its 2003 original release date it is easy to see The Glamorous Life Of Sachiko Hanai as a timely middle-finger to American colonialism and the changing international climate at the time in a manner that only Japanese culture could have conjured.

Several aspects would have the MAGA crowd foaming at the mouth, especially the hilarious closing credits, and in a world where conservatism is becoming more prevalent, this fact needs to be celebrated.

The screening at Derby Film Festival, on a specially imported 35mm copy, highlighted the event’s commitment to spreading the most interesting of cinema and was a special one-off event.

The Glamorous Life Of Sachiko Hanai is not big and it is not as clever as it thinks it is, but the world is a better place because of its existence.


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