With a title like Real Time Tapping Report: Pillow Talk, it could only be a pinku. But this is not just any pink film. Hisayasu Satô is at the helm, meaning we’re in for something far more interesting than your average erotic schlock.
REAL TIME TAPPING REPORT: PILLOW TALK
original title: (生)盗聴リポート 痴話
((Nama) tôchô ripôto: Chiwa)
aka: Kirie Eleison
Japan, 1993, Hisayasu Satô
Pillow Talk is a slowly unravelling series of sometimes nightmarish, often deranged sequences that come to an eventual conclusion that is satisfying in its own anti-narrative kind of way. We follow Aki (Kiyomi Itô) — a woman with a strange connection to a paralysed and hospitalised man with goggles strapped to his face. Aki has been introduced to KORIN, a hypnotic video tape that triggers hallucinations.
Aki is also wire-tapping a couple whenever they have sex. She blankly listens to the grunts and groans in her car. At one point, she evens joins in on a tune sung by the copulating couple. The disjointed, painstakingly paced tale eventually devolves into violence, dreams, and an exploration of tokophobia (which I’d never heard of before).
From its opening moments of armpit licking lit under a flickering television screen to its scene of an attempted rape at the hands of an abuser clad in squeaky rubber, this is through and through a Satô film. The lighting is bold and regularly bathed in hues of green and blue. The camera often lingers in a single, steady shot for an entire scene. Other times, it spins around its cast with to nauseating effect. Satô’s visual stamp is instantly recognisable, and his style is as phenomenal as ever.
I don’t think that Pillow Talk is quite as brilliant as other Satô films I’ve reviewed on Mondo Exploito. It’s difficult to top the grimy and slimy aesthetic of The Bedroom (1992), and the bleak Rape Climax made an enormous impact on me. But it is, nonetheless, an impressive achievement and staggering proof that thoughtful cinema — on both a visual and thematic scale — can be made with next to no money and a tight schedule.
This is what pink cinema is all about to me. It is a genre where artists like Satô can shine. Outside of its sex scene quota and its budgetary restraints, there is no real restrictions placed on pink filmmakers. Pink filmmakers need have no fear that their films will fail. A pink film’s purpose is to play on a screen in a cinema while its audience jack each other off, paying no attention to what’s happening on screen. Outside amateur home video, what other form of movies foster this much creative freedom? See Pillow Talk. See everything by Hisayasu Satō.
As is sadly the case with almost all of Satō’s films, Pillow Talk is not easy to find. As far as I can tell, it’s only ever had a VHS release. Without subtitles. There are some excellent fan subs floating about though.