1983′s DEBAUCHERY, part of the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection, is an aptly titled film with scenes you wouldn’t see in a plain-and-simple porn. And I’m not referring to the intense S&M components of the film. I’m referring to odd little touches, scenes that have nothing to do with fucking, or touch on it in an oblique or peculiar way. In other words, DEBAUCHERY, for all the luridness of its title and the extremity of its subject matter, is a thoughtful film. The movie is artful in a mostly subtle way, though the cinematography shines during the rough but compelling sex scenes. DEBAUCHERY uses the tried-and-true bored-lonely-horny housewife routine but does so in an interesting way that dodges derivation. It should also be remember this was made in ’83 before this particular sex film conceit was as trope-ish as it is now (though certainly the concept was hardly new in the early 80s). The bored housewife in this case sets off a chain of events that is out-of-left-field but somehow organic to the film’s narrative structure. The rapacious sexual awakening to which she is subjected after she seeks work at a local brothel spiderwebs out and affects her best friend who has decided to be more sexually aggressive in her quest for fulfillment from the male gender, a homeless man and her husband’s best friend, who covets our frustrated housewife. She gets more than she bargained for, between tough customers with painful tastes in sex – a man who reminds one strongly of “Goldfinger’s” Oddjob – and the manipulations of another character. DEBAUCHERY plunges into a psychosexual bloom then dives even deeper into perversion and insanity with a final act that both climaxes the sexual story arc but also veers the movie into dark thriller territory. DEBAUCHERY is a sex film and has no pretenses at being anything but, yet it’s more than “porno”. It respects the material and layers it with some subtextual depth and quiet artfulness of execution, thus making the viewer able to take a “sex film” seriously, because DEBAUCHERY is a serious film and more than egregious exploitation.
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