Working from a script by Chiho Katsura (Zoom In: Sex Apartments [M]), Takashi Kanno’s directorial debut after years as a second unit director on similar pink films is a pseudo erotic thriller in which the sins of the past return in the form of sublime revenge – or so it seems in what’s a ostensibly a rape revenge drama with an about-face finale.
The pre-credit teaser deals with the rape (shot fast, but still ugly) and jumps ahead to the present day where a mysterious woman volunteers to become a photographer’s ideal subject as the assignments move from softcore to S&M-based poses. Beaver is a bit of everything: suspense, porn satire, softcore porn, frat boy comedy, panty adulation, and a specific fixation on free-style micturating – the bigger and more dynamic the urine spray, the better for the still camera.
The funniest bits are the moments of, well, procedure, in which the sultry femme fatale, like the younger model, consumes diuretic drinks by the bottle with utter boredom before unleashing a reservoir of ginger spray so massive you can’t help laughing at the photographer’s futile attempt to capture his money shot in just a few hastily timed stills.
Beaver never really develops into anything – the mystery turns into repetitive motifs and ongoing character ennui, whereas the final revelation is less of a shock, and more of a necessary plot event to simply finish the film within its compact 64 mins., although the final image is appropriate for the film’s celebration of urolagnia: once the revenge aspect’s been handled, what’s left is closure for the two adversaries, and that’s accomplished in a 24 hour fuck-a-thon until the photographer finally succumbs to his mistress’s power, and both accept each other’s golden offering.
As with most entries within Impulse Pictures ‘ Nikkatsu Roman Porno series, Beaver (Vol. 4 if you’re counting) is impeccably shot in ‘scope, perhaps out of rigueur, or some unsubtle reverence for human apple juice, and the transfer is made from a pristine source print. Author Jasper Sharp (The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema) provides wry, literate liner notes about the Roman Porno genre which studio Nikkatsu skewed to extremes in order to distinguish themselves from rival cinema fodder. (Strangely, he retains all details of the film’s water fixation from his compact genre chronology, which is surprising, given the film abounds in imagery and objects tied to drinking, retention, voiding, and personal relief.)
Kanno’s other solo directorial venture is Mazohisuto (1985), after which he apparently retired from naughty films, of which he was involved with 22 within a 7 year period.
© 2012 Mark R. Hasan