In this, Sono’s evocatively but misleadingly titled “Guilty of Romance” resembles Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut,” which also treated sexual desire as dark, mysterious and dangerous, in a setting placeless and timeless.
The film begins, though, as a “Silence of the Lambs” take-off. Called from an assignation with her lover, Detective Yoshida (Miki Mizuno) investigates a bizarre murder in a tumbledown Shibuya apartment in which the victim’s body parts have been joined to pieces from two mannequins. She then goes home to her cute daughter and overly trusting husband.
Next we meet Izumi (Megumi Kagurazaka), the sweet, submissive, stay-at-home wife of a bestselling novelist (Kanji Tsuda) who spends most of his waking hours away from their luxuriously appointed, if empty, house. Bored to distraction, Izumi finds a part-time job at a local supermarket handing out sausage samples. Then one of her customers offers her more lucrative work as a porn model/actress. Izumi decides to accept.
Finally there is Mitsuko (Makoto Togashi), a charismatic university teacher of literature by day and a hard-nosed Shibuya prostitute by night. She becomes Izumi’s mentor in the business of whoring, with her first lesson being that women deserve pay for loveless sex. What she is really seeking, though, is the freedom of degradation, the peace of oblivion. Izumi proves to be a devoted pupil to the end. [Source]
Berlin premiere: July 19, 2012. [Here are the five theaters showing the movie].
Incredibly, you can only watch the trailer between 11pm and 6am on kino.de in Germany!
Megumi Kagurazaka promo photo: