Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon (1981) – By Duane L. Martin

Sakiko Kurata is a high school teacher. One day out of the blue, she gets a call from the police. One of her former students named Sueko from the first school she taught at in a mining town got arrested for being in a place where there was a group of people huffing paint thinner, smoking marijuana and having sexual contact. She picks the girl up, and slowly, even though she didn’t remember the girl, a relationship grows between the two. Sueko has some personality issues. She actively seeks out sexual contact with men, but she’s emotionally disconnected from it. She instead uses it as a way to get people to listen to her tell her stories. She’d been pretty messed up since an incident involving her father and a pet rabbit she had back when she was a kid, where the rabbit was killed by some animal, and the father cooked it for the family so as to not waste the food. When she found out, she became really disturbed emotionally.

Sakiko has what she thinks is a pretty normal life. She lives with her boyfriend and they have a normal, active sex life, but there’s a secret in her past that she never revealed to him. While at the mining town, working as a teacher, she was raped, and it turns out, she accused the wrong man, who was sent to jail for the crime, but released six months later after the real rapist struck again. It turns out the man she wrongly accused was Sueko’s father, who is now living a very meager life and is addicted to huffing paint thinner. When this all comes out, Sakiko tries to make amends, but will she be able to, and what will it cost her? Sueko holds no grudge against her, and neither does her father. The true grudge lies in her own conscience, and that’s the demon she has to overcome in order to restore some normalcy to her life.

This is the second Nikkatsu film review I have in this issue. The first was Nympho Diver: G-String Festival. Whereas Nympho Diver was a comical sex romp and just all around enjoyable, this film was more serious and emotional. The story in this film is better written than some in the series, but unfortunately, that’s also kind of the problem with it as well. Once all the secrets are revealed, it all kind of makes sense why these people are the way they are, but the reactions just don’t add up, and the sex scenes that are thrown in, almost needlessly in a story that didn’t really need them for the most part, tend to be rather boring. A couple of them do serve a purpose however. One gives us a look at Sueko’s disconnect from experiencing the pleasure of a sexual encounter, since she’s actally looking for a different type of a connection, and that’s the only way she feels she can get it, and the somewhat violent rape scene flashback with Sakiko shows us that part of the story, along with her accidentally accusing the wrong man. The rest just didn’t really matter so much.

I had a bit of a hard time with this one. Coming off of Nympho Diver, which was the film I reviewed just prior, this one seemed rather dull in comparison. The story is there, but throughout most of the film, I was really just staring blankly at the screen. I can’t even say exactly why. The performances were quite good and the story was pretty solid, so I’m not sure if it was the pacing or what that kept me from connecting with it. I also felt like the end of the film fell apart a bit and lost focus, but it all ended up resolving itself, so it worked out ok.

As I’m writing this, I’m really thinking hard about why I didn’t connect all that well with this film, and I really don’t have an answer. I wish I did. It’s not a bad film by any means. In fact, it’s probably one of the better ones in the series, but for some reason, I just couldn’t make that connection. I’m not saying that other people wouldn’t. This is simply a personal statement of my experience with it. I do have the distinct feeling though that if I watched it a second time, I’d connect to it more than I did during the first viewing. Again, I can’t honestly say why that is, but it’s just a feeling I have. Unfortunately, with the number of screeners I have to get through this month, I don’t have the luxury of a second viewing at the moment.

Like all the releases in this series from Synapse’s Impulse label, there’s not much in the line of special features. As with all of the others, this one has newly translated English subtitles and liner notes from Japanese film scholar, Jasper Sharp. It also includes the theatrical trailer.

I know I may have given the impression that I didn’t care much for the film, but I actually thought the film itself was quite good, and in that, I have no problem recommending it. If you like these Nikkatsu Roman Porno films, I’m quite sure you’ll find this one enjoyable. It’s not a fun film like Nympho Diver, but it does tell a good story and it’s got characters you can actually care about rather than being just shallow, cardboard cutouts used to fill the space between sex scenes, which is something that’s really important in any film.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here, and if you’d like to get a copy for yourself, you can get the DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.