DVD: Office Love: Behind Closed Doors / Ofisu rabu: Mahiru no kinryôku (1985)

February 12, 2015 | By

 

OfficeLoveBehindClosedDoorsFilm: Good

Transfer:  Very Good

Extras: Standard

Label: Impulse Pictures / Synapse Films

Region: 1 (NTSC)

Released:  June 3, 2014

Genre:  Japanese Pink / Adult

Synopsis: A single mother juggles corporate and call girl demands, but things get jiggly when an old flame re-enters her life!

Special Features:  4-page colour booklet with liner notes by Jasper Sharp / Theatrical Trailer.

 

 


 

Review:

“Women Are Beautiful And Sad!”

 

In this rare feature-length production, Nikkatsu’s Office Love: Behind Closed Doors is also a drama with Roman Porno interludes and indulgences, and with the exception of one especially brutal assault between an engaged couple (Kusami Junpei and Jogenji Kurumi), most of what unfurls is an erotic drama (dubbed “eroduction”) concerning a personal assistant whose state of longing is accentuated when an ex-lover and the father of her child returns to the corporation, upsetting an affair with two upper executives and a junior assistant with a heart of gold.

Yasuro (Yasuaki) Uegaki’s film espouses real drama, but it’s only marginally successful, which is extremely odd given the extra running time and deliberate focus on drama should’ve enabled the director and writer Toshimichi Saeki to deepen the film’s characters. The lack of detail may stem from a number of possibilities – Uegaki’s preference on long takes rather than extensive dialogue exchanges, an already undercooked script, rushed production, or a sudden switch to a feature-length eroduction – but even with fairly wan scenes and the barest of character outlines, this isn’t a standard Roman Porno.

Reiko (Akasaka Rei from High School Teacher: Maturing) is a single mother juggling work, affairs, emotional turmoil, and parenting, and it’s her choice to engage in affairs rather than be blackmailed or dragged into the office washroom for a quickie (as occurs in office-set smutfests such as Horny Working Girl: From 5 to 9 and I Love It from Behind!). Her interest in a junior assistant feels genuine, and in what could’ve been directed as a humiliating experience, the epic threesome that closes the film offers neither victors or vanquished – just Reiko feeling satisfied, and both her ex-lover and the assistant riding a train home in a vague stillness, leaving the film’s conclusion utterly blank. (The only assumption one can make is that by fulfilling her own needs and those of the two men, her rejection is an act of defiance against the expectations of her suitors, although she has no job to return to as the end credits roll.)

How she manages to balance active day /night lives with no babysitter for her seven year old is never addressed, but why should it be? This isn’t high drama, but Uegaki depicted a similar mix of restrained emotions for characters and somewhat docu-drama styled sex scenes in his prior film, Female Teacher: In Front of the Students (1982).

There’s barely any music in the film (the few cues by Masahiro Kawasaki are dramatic rather than tracked bonking cues), and the boffing scenes range from perfunctory to epic, of which the latter variety often consist of just a few long takes. (A few jump cuts suggest material was lopped off to tighten scenes, and remove blatant views of pickles and beaver which the fogging and digital blocking couldn’t fully obfuscate.)

None of the scenes offer any meaningful drama, but the film’s unusual tone suggests a director with a desire to transcend the banalities of the Roman Porno formula, but lacking decent material to elevate the final product.

Impulse Pictures’ DVD features an okay transfer – compression is a bit more evident here than in prior, shorter releases – and although Kazuumi Sugimoto’s compositions are nice, virtually every zoom maneuver is clumsy, presuming the camera operator may have been saddled with one lousy lens, or was drunk. (There’s also an apparent gaffe that occurs when one of Reiko’s suitors gets up: instead of vanishing off-screen, the actor is visible in the frame, waiting for the camera to tracking further back.)

Jasper Sharp’s lengthy liner notes provide a good overview of the eroduction sub-genre within the Roman Porno realm, and Uegaki’s career as a former assistant director (Sex Hunter: Wet Target) who eventually made his own films during the waning years of Nikkatsu’s production output.

 

 

© 2015 Mark R. Hasan

 


 

External References:
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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