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Love - 0 = Infinity
Love - 0 = Infinity DVD
Cover to the 2006 Region 1 DVD release of Love - 0 = Infinity
Directed by Hisayasu Satō[1]
(as "Hisakazu Hata"
- "幡寿一")[2]
Written by Shirō Yumeno
(as Tōru Bessho
-別所透)[3]
Music by Takayuki Hayashida
(林田隆行)
Cinematography Masashi Inayoshi
(稲吉雅志)
Editing by Shōji Sakai
Distributed by Shintōhō
Released June 10, 1994
Running time 63 min.
IMDb profile
JMDb profile

Love - 0 = Infinity (LOVE-ZERO=NO LIMIT) aka Dirty Wife: Getting Wet or Filthy Wife: Wet (いやらしい人妻 濡れる Iyarashii hitozuma: Nureru) is a 1994 Pink film directed by Hisayasu Satō and starring Kiyomi Itō. Shinji Imaoka served as Satō's assistant director on the film.[1] It was named Sixth Best Film of the year at the Pink Taishō ceremony.[4] According to Allmovie, it was the first Japanese film to deal with the subject of AIDS,[5][6] though Jasper Sharp points out that Satō had previously used the subject in Survey Map of a Paradise Lost (1988).[7]

ProductionEdit

Hisayasu Satō filmed Love - 0 = Infinity for Kokuei, and Shintōhō released it theatrically in Japan on June 10, 1994.[1] A Region-1 English-subtitled DVD of the film was released on July 25, 2006.[8]

Satō wrote the first version of the screenplay for Love - 0 = Infinity while he was employed as an assistant director.[9] It was at this time, while working at Shishi Pro that Satō became acquainted with Shirō Yumeno, who was to become his screenwriter for most of his work in the Pink film genre, and who wrote the final screenplay for Love - 0.[10]

Due to Satō's radical take on the Pink film genre, he had become unpopular with audiences who want simple sex films, and with the theatre owners. He began using pseudonyms for his credits, and in Love - 0 = Infinity he used the name "Hisakazu Hata". [11] Satō's screenwriter, Shirō Yumeno, also took a pseudonym for this film-- "Tōru Bessho", which is the name of one of the film's characters. [3] In the case of Love - 0 = Infinity, in addition to a directorial pseudonym, Satō also prepared a decoy screenplay in order to get funding for the film from the distributor. Kokuei, the production company for which Satō shot the film, gave the distributor, Shintōhō, a completely different script entitled "Dirty Wife: Getting Wet".[7] Believing he was directing a traditional "Housewife"-themed Pink film, Shintōhō backed what turned out to be one of Satō's most daring and controversial works within the Pink film format.[12]

Films in the Pink film genre are typically about one hour in duration, but the shooting screenplay for Love - 0 = Infinity was much longer than usual. The original edit of Love - 0 was approximately 90 minutes. Satō reports that over 20 minutes of supporting material had to be cut to get the film down to its final length. At a private screening of the film, veteran actor Shirō Shimomoto told Satō, "I've been in hundreds of pink films, but I've never had so many of my scenes cut!" [13] Satō reports that because of the risk he took with the project, and the corresponding effort to produce his best work, Love - 0 = Infinity has become one of his favorite films.[12] His affection for the film leads him to go so far as to claim it is one of the best films ever made in the Pink film genre.[14]

Themes and techniqueEdit

As the inspiration for the film, Satō cites an incident in which Emperor Hirohito needed a blood transfusion. The Emperor system would not allow the transfusion of blood from non-royalty. With Hirohito's death and the end of the Shōwa era, Satō had a desire to make a film concerned with blood issues represented through vampirism.[9] Though the vampire theme was partly inspired by old Western horror films, Satō states that he did not wish to simply make a Japanese version of these vampire films, which he feels would have been unnatural. [15] Satō chose vampirism to make a metaphorical comment on his view of contemporary Japanese society.[16] Chris MaGee at "Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow" writes that Satō's use of bustling crowd scenes in Shibuya watched by the stationary "vampire" figure effectively symbolizes how the paranoia of one person can infect a society. [17] MaGee also points out that the association of vampirism with a sexually transmitted disease which Satō puts in the film was not absent from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Syphilis represented a similar threat to 19th century society as HIV/AIDS when Satō conceived Love - 0.[17]

By the time of the filming of Love - 0 = Infinity, Satō had gained a reputation as a filmmaker who uses a lot of blood in his work.[18] Satō has said that Love -0, along with Rafureshia, was made partly with the intention of discrediting this pigeon-holing of him as merely a director of horror/splatter films interested only in gore.[16] With Love - 0 he wanted to try to deal with themes related to blood without necessarily showing much blood.[18] Nevertheless the film's themes fit into Satō's usual cinematic concerns. Allmovie points out that like much of Satō's work, "alienation and despair make the protagonist vulnerable to evil".[5] Also, Satō's handling of the HIV theme in this film has less in common with a standard film about disease than with the "body-horror" films of David Cronenberg.[7][17]

From a visual standpoint, Satō states that he wished the film to evoke the black-and-white cinematography of German Expressionistic horror films, such as F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. He used three-color tones, heightened visual contrast and filtering, and reduced image sensitivity to give a monotone impression to the film. Satō feels that this gave the film an atmosphere appropriate to a vampire film, and similar to the German Expressionist film which he admires. [19]

ReceptionEdit

Though, like much of Satō's work in the Pink film genre, Love - 0 = Infinity was not popular with the softcore sex-film audience for which it was originally released,[7] it has gone on to receive praise from other commentators. After its initial release, the readers of P*G magazine, the leading journal covering the Pink film genre, named it the Sixth Best Pink release of the year, and lead actress Kiyomi Itō was given the Best Actress award at the Pink Taishō ceremony.[4]

Jasper Sharp judges Love - 0 = Infinity to be one of Satō's best films in the Pink film genre, containing some of his "most controlled" direction, as well as one of Shirō Yumeno best scripts.[7] Allmovie writes that the film is, "A dark, disturbing splatterpunk entry" in Satō's filmography, noting the "surprising eroticism" of the love scenes.[5] The Weissers judge the film to be "exotic" in the context of Satō's work.[6] "Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow" notes that the film, at little more than an hour, contains more thought than most feature-films do. This review concludes, "For anyone looking for an intelligent and artful twist on the concept of vampirism and Bram Stoker's use of it as a metaphor for a world dealing with a dire illness then run out and rent this film!"[17]

Plot summaryEdit

Standing in a Tokyo garbage dump, Bessho tells his background to another man. He is a former school teacher from the countryside. After his girlfriend left him for another man he came to Tokyo and began wandering aimlessly. Calling himself an "Observer of Unidentified Followed Objects", he began following people in an effort to know someone. The man hands Bessho a camera with a zoom lens and points him to a shack where his girlfriend, in school uniform, is masturbating. He then produces a syringe and asks Bessho if he is familiar with "Blood Storm".

Bessho is at Shibuya Crossing staring at a woman in dark sunglasses who is standing staring at the busy crowd crossing the street. As he walks past a game arcade, a TV reporter asks the young couple from the dump what they think of the reports of a modern-day vampire. Bessho meets the couple back at the dump, and, while discussing his hobby of following people, has a coughing fit. The man introduces him to Blood Storm which involves the mixing of their blood. He claims it is better than sex or drugs. While telling a story about one of his students, who died after injecting air into his arm, Bessho collapses and the girl calls an ambulance.

Bessho again follows the woman in sunglasses. She escapes him and is seen having sex with Dr. Kurebayashi who is caressing her while wearing surgical gloves. Dr. Kurebayashi finds Bessho staring at the crowd in Shibuya. Surprised that he has forgotten him, he introduces himself as Dr. Kurebayashi Atsuo of Tohto Hospital, a dermatologist. He was the first to examine Bessho after the ambulance brought him to the hospital. Kurebayashi knows about Bessho's condition, and that his is an Observer of Unidentified Followed Objects. He asks Bessho to follow the woman in sunglasses, who is a physician who was injected with steroids for a dermatology experiment. She has become addicted to the treatments.

Bessho meets the woman in sunglasses and she takes him to an apartment where they have sex and the woman bites Bessho's neck. Dr. Kurebayashi later informs Bessho that the condition he discovered was that Bessho was HIV positive. The woman he is following is Dr. Kurebayashi's wife. Mrs. Kurebayashi has sex with a woman and kills her while a voice-over explains that she is a vampire taking revenge against her husband's agency, which sold HIV-infected blood products.

Bessho, now also wearing sunglasses, again has sex with Kurebayashi's wife. She bites his neck and drains his blood with a syringe. The news reports a man found dead in a flat, identified as Dr. Kurebayashi Atsuo of Tohto Hospital. The couple from the junkyard come into the room and find both Bessho and the woman dead in bed. The girl comments that it looks like a double-suicide as in "Chikamatsu Kadoemon" and makes her want to have sex. The man corrects her-- "Monzaemon"-- and says he has something more exciting than sex, and injects her and himself with a syringe as they are watched by sunglasses on the drawer. The girl is seen staring at the Shibuya crowd wearing the sunglasses.

CastEdit

BibliographyEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "いやらしい人妻 濡れる" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  2. "1994". P.G. Web Site. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Satō, Interview 10:15-10:35.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "1994年度ベストテン" (Best Ten of 1994) (in Japanese). P*G Website. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Love - Zero = Infinity" at Allmovie.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Weisser, Thomas; and Yuko Mihara Weisser (1998). Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films. Miami: Vital Books : Asian Cult Cinema Publications. p. 477. ISBN 1-889288-52-7.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Sharp, p. 271.
  8. Logboy. (2006-06-12J). "DVD News: Love - Zero = Infinity. by Hisayasu Sato (1994). R1 USA DVD July 25th 2006." at twitchfilm.com.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Satō, Interview. 9:00-10:15.
  10. Sharp, p. 265.
  11. Satō, Interview 5:00-5:40.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Satō, Interview 5:40-6:55.
  13. Satō, Interview 15:50-17:00.
  14. Satō, Interview 5:40-6:55, 28:20-20:30.
  15. Satō, Interview 21:00-21:30.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Sélavy, Virginie. Roemer, Maria, trans. (2010-12-22) "Interview with Hisayasu Sato" at electricsheepmagazine.co.uk. Accessed 2010-12-31.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 MaGee, Chris. (2009-03-13). "REVIEW: Love - Zero = Infinity" at jfilmpowwow.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Satō, Interview 27:25-28:20.
  19. Satō, Interview 17:35-21:00.
  20. Credits; Love - Zero = Infinity DVD; Artsmagic. 2006-07-25.

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