The Kappa are well known creatures in Japanese folklore. Dwelling in rivers and swamps. They have beaks, turtle shells and scalps that must be watered. Mischievous being’s they like to challenge people to sumo or pull them in the water. Their favourite food is cucumber.
Shinji Imaoka latest feature film Underwater Love (Onna no love) 2011 is a unique mix of musicals and soft-core porn known as pinku eiga (pink films) in Japanese cinema. It tells of a love affair between the thirty something Asuka and a Kappa. Asuka’s life is mapped out in front of her; she comfortable has a job in the local fish factory and is engaged to her boss. That is until one day she walks by the lake near her factory and meets her first Kapper, who turns out to be a boyfriend from her schooldays who was drowned when he was seventeen.
Described at its World Premier at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival as "A spectacle of songs and sex that is at once zany and erotic”. This visually striking film has behind its camera Wong Kar-wai’s regular cinematography Australian born Christopher Doyle and some great music by Berlin based Stereo Total.
As a blogger it’s my job to occasionally bring you movies that may never have appeared on your cinematic horizon and I would guess that Underwater Love is one such film. Don’t be put off by the pink film tab, it has form and boundless energy about people who seem to love and enjoy life which is brought out beautifully in Imaoka experimental mix of musical and the pink genre. As Midnight Eye’s Tom Mes opined in his review of the best Japanese Film’s in 2011 “touching, beautiful and whimsical” I could not agree more Tom, it’s a movie that deserves an audience.