IFFR Review: Sexual Drive

DIRECTED BY

Kōta Yoshida

STARRING

Tateto Serizawa, Manami Hashimoto, Ryo Ikeda, Honami Sato, Mukau Nakamura, Rina Takeda and Shogen

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SYNOPSIS

A Japanese triptych about sex, aphrodisiac foods and secret desires.

A Japanese triptych about sex, aphrodisiac foods and secret desires, Sexual Drive is a film containing three stories with one connection, a mysterious man known as Kurita appears before three people and revealing a secret to each one.

Sexual Drive is a drama written and directed by Kōta Yoshida that tells three stories which are connected through a mysterious, shaggy figure known as Kurita, who always happens to have a box of Chinese chestnuts in his possession, as he reveals a secret to each character he encounters. He meets with designer Enatsu, claiming to be having an affair with his wife and is looking to apologise for it. With office worker Akane, she accidentally runs over Kuritz, who in turn reveals that she used to bully him as a child. As for Ikeyama, Kurita wants him to follow in his lovers footsteps to learn how she felt the night that Kurita abducted her.

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While there’s no sex scenes in the film, Yoshida’s dialogue delivered by Tateto Serizawa’s Kurita ranges between playful to creepy as he explicitly details his exploits to the people he encounters, pretty much coming across as a habitual line stepper and the Jigsaw of innuendo torture. Each chapter/story in the film is named after a specific food (Natto, Mapo Tofu and Ramen) and they all play a pivotal part of the film, serving as a double entendre in the first tale in particular, and the way cinematographer Masafumi Seki captures the way the food is cooked and ate during these stories also makes you crave for the food on show in the same way that Jon Favreau’s Chef did. As he has the most screentime out of everyone else in the cast, Tateto Serizawa certainly commits to the rule of Kurita and gives a solid performance as the creepy Kurita, and I also liked the performances by Honami Sato and Shogen in their separate stories.

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With a runtime of an hour and ten minutes, the film feels episodic in nature to how the stories are constructed and only having one character as their only service of connection and by the time the end credits rolled, I had more questions as to just why Kurita seems to intervene in these peoples lives. There was also one moment in the first story that felt poorly executed in how it was presented and edited here, such as Kurita getting punched/slapped (still can’t tell) by designer Enatsu as he more than oversteps his bounds by grilling his sexual exploits with his wife Masumi right up to his face. In terms of preference I think the second and third stories may have served better to have them switched about due to how they played out.

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VERDICT

Interesting concept with some nice shots of how food plays into the stories, as well as the character of Kurita as a whole, but I certainly wasn’t left filled by it.

★★