søndag 27. mars 2011

Journey to Japan (1973)

  
There’s something about Christina Lindberg…

The lovely Christina Lindberg plays Ingrid Jacobsen. On a trip to Japan she accidentally enters the wrong car. The driver is a sexually frustrated loner, who after a little while decides to keep her. He proceeds to rape her and hold her captive. A couple of days later she escapes only to be subjected to a gangbang by more naughty Japanese men. Her former kidnapper later finds her and takes her back home with him. There are some gangsters and a policemen looking for Ingrid as well.

The story is about as complicated as you would expect from a piece of 70s erotica. Story has nothing to do with why you could find yourself watching this movie. It’s our Swedish starlet Christina Lindberg we’re here to watch. Lindberg was in her prime at this time and the Japanese market was eager to get a slice of her. They got what they wanted. She really has a presence about her. Lindberg encompasses the innocent and naïve, while simultaneously being very sexual. That contrast is quite alluring. She is darned cute as well. Fittingly enough Lindberg seems to develop the “Stockholm syndrome” during the movie. I guess anything that could be related Sweden here is worth a go. Strangely enough there is actually a minor conversation about Sweden as a welfare state. Ingrid finds it boring, since it plans your whole life. She’s not interested in that. The conversation, with her soon to be rapists, also dips into the idea of Swedish free love and how the Japanese perceive it. Hmm, maybe there is more to Journey to Japan after all?

Strikingly sexy even when held captive. 

Our poor frustrated male lead works out alright. He is played by Ichirô Araki an actor who has been in other more notorious films like, Girl Boss Revenge: Sukeban and Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs. Araki is responsible for the movie’s score as well. Today he is apparently more famous as a magician, specializing in card tricks. It’s funny how life can turn out. Anyway, it’s interesting to see him go from hopeless loner to kidnapper and rapist. Perhaps that line is shorter than we think? I find it strange watching. He seems like a decent guy even if he is shy. The music plays feel-good tones. So when he decides to rape her it comes off as an odd contrast. I wish the director would have explored the power domination angle further, because it keeps reappearing in a lot of these Japanese films. Check out Entrails of a Virgin for another example.

I really like Christina Lindberg. She remains one of exploitation and soft core sleaze’s undisputed goddesses. If you can take joy in seeing her raped and humiliated and even the occasional consensual sex scene go right ahead. But she has made better and more interesting films. If you’re going to start anywhere in her filmography begin with Thriller – en grym film and Sex and Fury. Both are phenomenal films. If you want something more tender and innocent go for Anita. Journey to Japan remains one of Lindberg’s two Japanese efforts and is worth a look for fans. Others may want to give this one a miss.

5/10

Thank you to Another World Entertainment for making this piece of old school sleaze available to new generations of filth aficionados.

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