Reviews

Reviews

Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture

Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture

Yasagure anego den: sôkatsu rinchi

Teruo Ishii

Japan, 1973

Credits

Review by Rumsey Taylor

Posted on 29 May 2006

Source Panik House DVD

Related articles

Reviews: Sex & Fury

With no discernable exposition Female Yakuza Tale recalls its prequel’s best scene as its opening credits sequence. We find Ochô, the insatiable, tattooed, and often nude samuraistress, in a nondescript environment attended by many soon-to-be expended foot soldiers. It is raining, and she holds a red parasol as the men surround her. Immediately, she whips the accessory around and unveils a blade in its tip. As she proceeds to increase her tally of kills, her kimono becomes saturated by the rain, loosening around her active body. As the credits commence (as well as the film’s redundant, bass-driven score), she is completely nude, her choreography seen in slow-motion, bouncing with poise and grace from one victim to the next. Often, the frame crops her head and legs, isolating the inundations of two of her more vulnerable features.

As in Sex & Fury, Female Yakuza Tale reveals its exploitations liberally. When the women fight they are often naked, and when blood is shed it is so with the concentration of the offshoot of a garden hose spigoted with a thumb—and furthermore, the nudity is often combined with the violence. This is essentially what the film is about. When the main character isn’t in some varying state of undress or killing someone, the film hastily moves to more action or more sex, culminating in a satisfactorily ridiculous final sequence involving more action and more sex. How it gets here will warrant obscenity in even more unbiased descriptions.

Ochô becomes implicated in a criminal scheme to export drugs. This is done using beautiful young women as vessels, each of whom is evaluated in a populated round of intercourse—this to determine (or forcibly enhance) the volume of illicit substances she may transport within her. This isn’t told in graphic detail, but it does impose an air of obscenity that is ill-advised; the playful female empowerment that characterizes Sex & Fury is lost here. Ochô’s self-imposed task is to liberate these women, and although she inevitably succeeds, it is not without what I deem some rather offensive displeasure.

The women who sustain this cartel are rewarded with some of the product, and they are managed with the threat of death. Ochô learns of a chain of murders — the “crotch-gouge murders” — by which the women are kept in check. It is the most offensive fate imaginable for them; either they keep their employment by transporting drugs in their vaginas, or are killed in a violence on the same body part. Either way, the female form is masochistically violated, and the feminine redemption at the end of this film does not cloak its implicit misogyny.

It is futile to laud this film solely for its playfulness, as its strengths are hindered. It is about Ochô’s task to free a clan of women — which is done consummately — but the conflict is put forth by an enormous sexual prejudice—virtually all the women are young, nubile, and hostile, and the men sweaty and obscene. Success resolves nothing, but, admittedly, to criticize exploitation for excesses is to miss the point.

We don’t do comments anymore, but you may contact us here or find us on Twitter or Facebook.