Feb 17, 2009

Rape! 13th Hour

The quest for manhood is led to by many treacherous paths of righteousness. Each territory you cross into leads into a chain of cause and effect. There will be consequences for each and the one that Ishiyama chose is to become a serial rapists' apprentice in order to live the life of sex and riches. But the real problem here is getting Ishiyama to climax. The lil' bugger just doesn't have it in him and in this, he soon finds solace in the idea of rape. Rape's everywhere; it's in the newspapers, television, literature, and a frequent topic in film (See also; Any Yasuharu Hasebe film). Described is the first 10 minutes of Rape! 13th Hour and let me tell you; the odyssey that Crimson leads the emasculated cohort through is a dizzying journey through sleazy nihilism and avid selflessness.

Dispersed through the film are beautiful poetic visual metaphors that can be a doozy to catch on to. Crimson's epithet is derived from his bright red jacket and his crimson rose tattoo on his forearm. In moments of sexual assault, Crimson's tattoo begins to slowly fill with red ink until his "flower blossoms." As indicated by these little gems, Rape! 13th Hour is no amateur film and a prime highlight in the idea of creating a stellar script around many sexual taboos. In the current high peak of Asian film reception, Miike's Visitor Q is hailed as an absolute masterpiece of taboo film making but the real champions (or underdogs) are trapped behind closed circuits with no release pending and the only really light these films will see is in the hopes of Mondo Macabro, Pink Eiga, or exhaustive searching online.

Rape is a topic often visited by Nikkatsu films and ero-gro for that matter. Any Japanese pinku film mostly lingers around the concept of forced sexual relations and with good reason too. As much as you or any might deny it, there's definitely something unbelievably attractive about the domineering over a female. The beginning of the act (cemented by cinema) is a bit of flirtation with the idea - the fear, the struggle. It makes for beautiful film footage, given the right director. The only flaw with rape in film is that in most cases, it's made into something comical and not given life to the "terrible" act in which case, would make the act beautiful worthy of revelations of one's own sexuality.

Hot on the tail of Crimson is a gang of homosexual thugs led by an ant king. After witnessing Crimson rape someone, he's decided to make a proposition one could easily turn down; fuck the gay leader or get turned into the police. To make matters worse, the trio is compromised by two larger fellows. Poor Ishiyama got himself in the middle of something spectacularly horrible. As Crimson struts down the street, eyes hidden by Lennon glasses and hands in jacket pockets; his countenance is especially intimidating. Maybe this is what fuels Ishiyama's competitive virility match with Crimson and thus leads us the the shocking climax that rivals A Clockwork Orange on a scale of sexual encounters under a storm of sifting feathers. Just a minute before, he pins a woman that Crimson had claimed to a mirror, with a strung out and patiently executed thrust, the mirror cracks behind him. This sets the mood for a mirror shot of them making unconditional love in time for the credits to roll. Blazingly brilliant in style and only inhibited by the era from which it was produced, Rape! 13th Hour is scarcely matched.

There's no reason why anyone should be displeased with this 1977 Nikkatsu film. The title tells you the subject matter rather prematurely. You're but a fool if you walk into an experience such as Rape! 13th Hour and expect morals and tolerance for there is none. Gay-bashing aside, Rape! 13th Hour is a film with both violent and conscientious tendencies that rises to unnatural levels of both storytelling and sexual titillation. Abuse of women can be a structured act and Hasebe proves so with yet another film pertaining to the code of conduct displayed by serial rapists. With hints of My Own Private Idaho, A Clockwork Orange, and Straw Dogs, this films has every bit of sexual class and explosive depravity that you'd come to expect with the title boasting "rape" followed by an exclamation mark, as to say "Buy this! Rape turns you on!" - which it more than likely does.



Phantom of Pulp said...

Stunning, thoughtful review of a classic Hasebe film.

You guys really nailed what makes 'Rape 13th Hour' so vital.

I'm looking forward to your takes on 'Raping!' and 'Assault!' also.

Hasebe is one of cinema's unsung heroes.

Soiled Sinema said...

I've acquired Assault! but I still need to gain Raping! within my possession, but both these films will eventually be covered. Right after I review Teenage Runaway, Dying Breed, and All About the Benjamins!


Phantom of Pulp said...

I look forward to all of them.