Adult, War

Fairy In A Cage (1977)

0 Comments 15 July 2013

Fairy In A cage coverStudio: Impulse/Synapse 

Theatrical Release: June 4th, 1977

DVD Release: March 12th, 2013

Rating: UnRated!

Directed by Koyu Ohara

Review by Craig Sorensen


Well, looks like it’s time for more Nikkatsu lunacy.  This time we’re off to World War II with 1977’s Fairy In A Cage, a mostly serious, borderline art film full of bondage, a little bit of peeing (of course) and an enema.

Naomi Tani (Wife to be Sacrificed and Female Convict 101: Sucks) stars as Namiji Kikushima, young wife of a rich business man living in Japan during the war.  She has a secret admirer in Judge Murayama who has a habit of falsely imprisoning young women and sexually degrading and torturing them into “confessing”.  And in short order the judge has Kikushima arrested for helping to fund anti-war activists.  She’s locked up in the basement of the Judge’s quarters along with a kabuki actor that she had been sponsoring.

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While locked away both Kikushima and the whimpering actor are both sexually assaulted.  There’s lots of bondage involved, of course, as well as a kettle of hot water, some kind of triangular wedge (use your imagination) and craziest of all, a glass floored bathroom with a hollow toilet where underneath the judge stands with a silver chalice to catch urine which is then mixed with some alcohol and sipped.

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While this ridiculousness is going on, Namiji gains another secret admirerer, a young military police officer (Kazuo Satake).  He steals some bondage rope used to tie the young woman up and plays with himself while sniffing it so you can tell how he feels about her.  Eventually, he is able to escape with Kikushima (but not before having to kill his superior officer).  With the military police hot on their trails the two escape to the countryside.  It all leads to a surprising, inevitable and depressing climax that must have made it difficult for Japanese men to maintain their erections.

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So, I’m sure that there’s a lot of political subtext going on here, how could there not be.  Military police and a corrupt legal system abducting people to use towards their own perverse sexual goals.  If that isn’t allegorical then I don’t know what is.  Of course my knowledge of the Japanese political system, both during WW II and the 1970s is basically nonexistent.  So most of this is lost on me.  I don’t know if this kind of thing actually happened or if it’s being embellished with an exploitation flight of fancy.  Regardless, the film is well made.  The film does take itself very seriously so there’s not a lot of humor here (which usually helps these Nikkatsu films go down a bit easier).  Maybe I’m just getting a bit jaded but this isn’t as nasty as it all sounds.  Going into this I was expecting a very unpleasant film experience.  I guess it’s unfair to compare this to other WW II exploitation (take a look at what the Italians were doing around the same time).  Nikkatsu are always able to imbue a certain amount of class to these little sordid sex films.  They’re always well shot, acted and directed.

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Like the rest of the Nikkatsu series, Fairy in a Cage looks great on DVD.  The bright splashes of color pop against the earth tone dominated frame and flesh tones (and there are a lot of them) look completely natural.  Audio is only available in the original Japanese mono, which is more than adequate, and the film has english subs of course.  There aren’t any special features aside from the always welcome liner notes.  Although we only received Fairy in a Cage on DVD, Impulse has issued the film on Blu-Ray.  I’m sure that it looks even better in that format.  I’m not sure why this is the only film to be given that treatment.  Hopefully it won’t be the last.  I’d love to get True Story of a Woman In Jail in that format.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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