Roman Porno Double Feature: NYMPHO DIVER: G-STRING FESTIVAL & FEMALE TEACHER: DIRTY AFTERNOON

Charlie Hobbs, Contributing Writer
This fourth batch of Nikkatsu Roman Porno discs from Impulse Pictures is, in my humble opinion, the finest of the series so far. Between the genuinely joyous sexual exploration of Nympho Diver: G-String Festival and the proper melodrama and thrill of Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon, Nikkatsu did kick out some quality films without unnecessary sexual violence from time to time. If I've had any recurring complaint about the series it is the persistent and pervasive sexual violence played for entertainment value, thankfully, that's not the case with these two films, which makes them a breath of fresh air.

The first of the pair, spine #7 Nympho Diver: G-String Festival, is a pretty straight forward sex comedy, but centered around a specifically Japanese character, the ama, or female diver. Popularized globally by their appearance in Women of the World in 1963, the ama is the very definition of Eastern exoticism. These pearl divers, who dove in nothing but a loin cloth well into the sixties, became something of a tourist attraction following Prospero & Jacopetti's film, and even in Japan, where they became more rare, they still attracted men from all around. Such is the plot of ND:GSF.

When a dying town needs revitalization, what better place to look than the bare bosoms of a few buxom beauties? In service of saving the town, a man is sent to the big city to round up some twenty-something girls to attract new tourism dollars, however, once they get there, they realize that they'll need a bit more of a plan. When one girl reads about an old-fashioned ritual, a G-string festival, the race is on to put the plan into action, and every man in town is looking to get some action from these fine specimens.

As I mentioned above, one of my great joys about this film is that is explores sexuality in a positive and fun way, rather than the dark films we've seen from Nikkatsu previously in the series. The women all have healthy attitudes about their own sexuality, and even though the men are little more than horndogs, they are at least conscientious horndogs who take the ladies at their word when they say no. I wish it took a little but more than an absence of rape to make this film stand out, but it really doesn't. Fortunately, the film works on its own as something we might have seen here in the States in the early '80s, if such a cultural tradition existed here. This is definitely a recommended title.

femaleteacher.jpgThe second film in this double feature doesn't seem to stray too far from its rapey predecessors in the series on its surface, but Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon is deceptively effective as a thriller with rape as plot point, rather than a device for titillation. When a young teacher gets a call from a former student, she unearths some rather unpleasant history, including her own rape, which she'd hoped to move beyond. What does this phone call have to do with her past? The film takes some deft twists and turns that will leave the viewer on the edge of their seat.

Yes, FT:DA features rape as a central plot device, however, it is not the film's reason for existing. The main character, whose history as the titular teacher has little to do with the plot at all, is a grown woman who has chosen to live her life without allowing her own tragedy to affect her future.  However, in her past, she may have made some mistakes that affected someone else's future, and now she must right the wrongs that stemmed from her violent past.

I could go further into the plot, but I think that this film is good enough that the viewer should be able to discover the tricks on his or her own. As a film, rather than a masturbatory aid, Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon is probably the most competent of the Nikkatsu series released by Impulse so far. This is the first of the set that I would feel okay watching with my wife and not having her think I'm a total perv. Sure, there's some explicit-ish sex, but not the exploitative kind that is so often prevalent with these films. The action fits the plot, and the sexuality of the film is in the service of telling the story. Perhaps it goes a bit further than your average megaplex thriller from time to time, but in the end, it's still a real movie with sympathetic characters and real emotions. This is the rare occasion where I can't choose a film to recommend, they are both really good in completely different ways.

The Discs:

As usual, Impulse Pictures discs of these films are excellent. I don't know how Nikkatsu stored the materials for these films, but studios take note, this is how you do it! The color and detail on both features is above standard from what I would expect from a film of this vintage, and I was very impressed with the presentation of both. The audio is also very good, not flashy, but effective and clear.

Both films have the same set of extras. Each film is joined by its own theatrical trailer and a newly translated set of English subtitles, as well as a very informative booklet and essay from Jasper Sharp.  The trailers are okay for these, I have most of them on the Nikkatsu trailer compilation that Impulse put out a couple of years ago, but it is the essays that keep me coming back. Sharp is an articulate and well-rounded expert on these subjects, having literally written the book on the genre, and I love to read these snippets of his. 

It took me a while to get to these here, mainly because I was a bit intimidated by the prospect of the double feature in our newly formatted website, but I'm glad I can bring them to you now, because they are both fine films.
Special Features:
  • - Liner Notes from Jasper Sharp on both features
    - Original Theatrical Trailers on both discs
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