Angel Guts: Red Porno

Prim department store worker Nami (Jun Uzumi) gets dragged into a seedy underworld of dodgy sexual shenanigans after her 'friend' sets her up to do a porn magazine shoot. After an ill-timed affair with a married man, our heroine with a high sex drive finds her path has inextricably crossed with the local 'pervert', but is he the one stealing girls' knickers? All will be revealed (including some things you perhaps didn’t want to see) in Toshiharu Ikeda’s saucy and sad Red Porno.

The penultimate in the Angel Guts box set is the shortest and certainly the sauciest as our lady of lovin' proves that DIY is not just for men. Delving considerably deeper than its predecessor's crotch shots, this edition in the series serves up hefty slices of masturbation for titillation, making it the most sexually charged of the powerful collection. Though it isn't all self appreciation; weaved into this short tale of lust and love, masturbation, infatuation, furtive glances and missed chances is a darker and more serious side in keeping with the Angel Guts rape theme, as we take a different view once more of this personally and socially destructive crime.

As is typical of all the Angel Guts films Red Porno isn't big on complex plotlines. As we follow Nami's descent into sexual depravity (if you are easily upset by furniture abuse this may not be the film for you) the ideas brought out are more subtly merging than in the former Nami. Like Red Classroom, this film leaves it up to the viewer to pick up and interpret the nuances that are undoubtedly there. It actually turns out in one respect to be quite a sweet film by the end taking, as does Red Classroom and Nami before it and Red Vertigo after, the idea of near-miss love amongst the sickness. And, like Red Classroom and Nami, the media plays an important role though from a different angle this time. Whilst clearly playing with the idea of sexualised women in the industry there is also a more complex concept at work with a good pervert/bad pervert trajectory making this film a little more thought out then you might initially give it credit for.

Despite all its masturbatory titillation and genuinely explored media issues, this is still a film concerning rape, though following on from Nami the frequency feels thankfully less. The two rape scenes which are depicted are, however, troubling in very different ways, with the former bringing out some dangerous ideas about women and rape much in the same way as Nami before it and Red Vertigo after. Whereas the initial rape is, though obviously uncomfortable to watch, more difficult to comprehend through the ideas it presents, the second rape is troubling purely as an act itself. It is a very violent and utterly disrespectful crime committed on a school girl which has a traumatic effect on a small community.

The short running time for this film (coming in at little over an hour) gives it a perfectly compact feel which seems to strangely suit Ikeda's relaxed direction. The dreamy, bluesy score adds to the sometimes stifling sexual atmosphere and voyeuristic feel, with which Uzumi copes with natural repose as the lady with a voracious sexual awakening. Though if Ikeda lulls you into a false sense of security with his easy direction and sultry, mellow score, his dark denouement will certainly shock you back into harsh reality.

Short but certainly not sweet, Red Porno lives up to its name as a hotbed of sexual feeling but with serious undertones festering beneath. Not for the easily shocked, Ikeda's take on the Angel Guts theme lingers more darkly than its surface portrays 7/10

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Buy It: amazon.com (Red Porno) | amazon.com (Angel Guts Box set)