Manji (3 stars)


(Yume Pictures) 90min

As strange as it is sensual, Yasuzo Masumura’s 1964 melodramatic sizzler Manji succeeds in being various things to different people. At its best, it casts a visceral eye upon the codes of a sexual culture which would have seemed vastly alien to western viewers of the time; at its worst, with some hilariously maniacal performances, it comes close to being Carry On Up the Kimono.
Sonoko is a bored housewife who falls in lust with Mitsuko, a life model at her art class. While Mitsuko appears to welcome her attentions, it soon becomes clear that her motives are less than honourable and a four-way game of chance with suicide pacts and blood oaths threaten to tear apart their souls. The extras on show are trailers from the equally bonkers back catalogues of Masumura and his Yume Pictures stablemate Seijun Suzuki.