Thursday, July 22, 2010

Susumu Hani - Hatsukoi: Jigoku-hen AKA Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (1968)

Description: A young couple check into a hotel room to make love for the very first time. The boy Shun is timid and gauche, hiding his face and retreating to the bathroom for a glass of water as the young girl Nanami undresses before him. She is less shy - she earns her living as a nude model. Finding himself embarrassed by his awkward attempts at foreplay, they agree that they need to get to know each other better before committing themselves to the act of love. After arranging to meet again at a later date, the two of them begin tentatively discussing their pasts.
Shot in grainy 16mm monochrome, the film portrays a bleak and inhospitable world in which any chance of emotional connection is stifled by traditions and patterns of behaviour that are passed down from generation to generation. Shun's mother abandoned him in a reform school at an early age after marrying a boxer when his father died. He was taken in by a childless couple, though the adoption was never official. He now works as an apprentice metal worker for his foster father and spends his free days feeding the pigeons with his unlikely best friend, a five year old girl called Momi. Following a public lynching when his innocent intentions with the youngster are misinterpreted, he is sent off to a psychiatrist who reveals under hypnosis that Shun himself has been continuously molested by his foster father during his own upbringing. Though Shun initially seems unperturbed by Nanami's profession as a nude model posing for frustrated salarymen in Tokyo's Shinjuku district, a job which she took because it paid better than her previous post working in a factory, the seedy milieu in which she works remains threateningly alien to him as he skulks around it in order to get closer to her.




no pass