Following Desire (aka Ichijo's Wet Lust)

Co-presented by The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles

In an amazing move similar to casting the real-life Evel Knievel in Viva Knievel!, in 1972 the Nikkatsu studio cast real-life stripper Ichijo Sayuri as herself in a sleazy, cock-eyed Japanese variation of All About Eve. Busty, proud and with a penchant for using hot candle wax in her stage show, legendary stripper Ichijo decides to throw in the towel after being brought up on yet another spate of obscenity charges. Desperate to seize the throne is Sayuri’s young, hot-blooded rival Harumi, who doesn’t have the same assets or skills but that’s not about to stop her — even if the cops lock her up every time she drops her kit on stage. Clearly designed as a quick cash-in on Sayuri’s popularity, director Tatsumi Kumashiro converts this skin flick into a comment on obscenity laws in Japan. Coming two years after Sayuri’s time in jail, the meticulous recreation of her infamous striptease show becomes an act of free speech protest — while also jacking up your pulse more than a glass of snake blood ever could.
Dir. Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1972, 35mm, 70 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ichijo’s Wet Lust”!