Twisted Path of Love (aka Lovers Are Wet)

Co-presented by The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles

A beautifully shot Japanese softcore turn at the seishun eiga (coming-of-age film), Tatsumi Kumashiro’s Twisted Path of Love plays like Mike Nichols’ The Graduate soaked in a vat of shochu. It’s not clear where the young drifter Katsu has been for the last couple of years, but he’s returned home, gotten a job at the local porn theater and is insisting to everyone who recognizes him that he is NOT Katsu. With implications he’s either been a radical leftist agitator or a just petty crook, now he acts like another slacker punk in a dead-end town — one whose impulses drive him to different women like a sex-starved dog. Having directed many of Nikkatsu’s “Roman Porno” ‘70s softcore films, Kumashiro often sharply diverged from expected norms, producing unexpectedly wild imagery; here, with many free-floating dreamy non-linear sequences, his statement about the feeling of disenchantment and social disconnect amongst Japanese youth reaches its zenith. At a brisk 76 minutes, this is one whip-crack trippy ride.
Dir. Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1973, 35mm, 76 min.

Watch the trailer for “Lovers Are Wet”!