Donzumari Benki opens in a high school storage room reminiscent of If… a secret places where a personal rebellion unfolds. Narumi-chan’s with a boy. She pulls her panties up as he begins the patter of how good it was for him. She’s nonplussed. As a cicada begins its electric buzz she asks for 300 yen. Not much to charge for sex, but for Narumi, we will learn, this small fee exacted from the boys in her life represents taking some control. As he starts to fuck her again in voiceover, we hear her dispassionate voice:
“I shaved my legs first when I was in the 5th grade and in 7th grade my armpits. My menstruation stated in the 8th grade and I had my first sex in the 11th grade. I was a woman.”
We then see her with her teacher, Shimada (Shohei Uno) in a lab examining sperm samples, talking about mechanics and miracles – the chance of a sperm reaching an egg, the chance of love. She blithely adds her noncommittal rejoinders while stealing a vial of Shimada’s sperm. She later attempts to self-impregnate herself with said sperm.
Sex itself is a means to something she can’t find – and in her own personal tragedy, will never find. She’s too self-centered, infantile and mixed up. But like a train that can’t stop, she powers on to her own wreck, taking whomever she can with her. Director Haruhi Oguri takes the whole sticky mess and twists it around into a perverse tale worthy of Bunuel, but with a decidedly post-feminist take that slyly lauds Narumi’s destructive energy.
Actress Nahana informs the role of Narumi with a feral intensity. As an up and coming character actor, she risks being typecast as your basic girl punk. She got a mix of boyishness, electric energy and nihilism that was showcased magnificently in Takahisa Zeze’s Heaven’s Story. In that film, Zeze tamed her character with motherhood. In Donzumari benki, she’s allowed to go to full force into the abyss.
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