on the roof
220 36th Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11232
D, N, R to 36 St
R100 (Hitoshi Matsumoto | 94 min.)
Nao Ohmori (star of Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer) plays Takafumi Katayama, a mild-mannered father who escapes the pressures of daily life by joining a mysterious S&M club, where the dominatrixes visit clients in real-life settings. While at first the rough treatment and humiliation he receives from leather-clad women in cafés and restaurants is enjoyable, Takafumi soon realizes that he's opened a door that cannot be closed. Unable to end his relationship with the club, he finds himself pursued by a gang of ruthless mistresses, each with a very unique talent. Takafumi must either find a way to turn the tables, or walk even further down this dark yet sexy path.
A massive star in Japan, director Hitoshi Matsumoto has bewildered and delighted Midnight Madness audiences twice before, with Big Man Japan and Symbol, each time one-upping himself in terms of both strangeness and imagination. With R100, he returns with a distinctive take on the sex comedy. You may be thinking, “How weird and complicated can a BDSM movie be?” Well, this defies definition and laughs in the face of conventions. Partway through the film the narrative stops and cuts to an official Japanese censorship committee – also watching the movie – who are just as confused as you will be. The director soon appears as a 100-year-old version of himself, refusing to change anything and forcing the committee to brand his work unsuitable for anyone under 100 years of age; hence the title.
With a cast of uniquely skilled dominatrices (Queen of Voices, Queen of Saliva, Queen of Eating People Whole), absurd meta-experiences, and a storyline that can only be described as crazy, until it gets really crazy, Matsumoto’s film rises above its zaniness with a surprising abundance of pathos. Whether or not you’re into sadomasochism isn’t the question. What you should be asking yourself is, “Are you ready for an experience you’ll never forget?”
Hitoshi Matsumoto was born in Amagasaki, Japan, and made his acting debut as part of the comedy duo Downtown. He has appeared in numerous popular television comedies and is a published author. His directing credits include Big Man Japan (2007), which screened in the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival; Symbol (2009), Scabbard Samurai (2011), and R100 (2013).