Japanese Director Aims to Break Taboo of AV Industry With New Film

Japanese soft porn (“pink eiga”) director, Takahisa Zeze, is hoping that his latest movie “The Lowlife,” an adaptation of a novel by erotic actress Mana Sakura, will help tackle porn taboo in the country as well as “prejudice” against the adult video (AV) industry.

“The Lowlife,” which premiered at the Tokyo Film Festival last week, follows the story of three conflicted porn actresses Takako (Saki Takaoka), Ayano (Kokone Sasaki) and Miho (Ayano Moriguchi) in their day-to-day struggles both outside and inside the industry.

The movie is about people searching for their place in the world, for their identity. I don’t think there was an urgent sense of wanting to destroy taboos when we set out to make the film. But hopefully it can go some way to helping break down the prejudices that still exist towards porn,” Zeze told AFP in an interview, Daily Mail reported.

Some of the actresses declined the casting call after finding out the details of the role.

When we were auditioning for the film, for example, some actresses turned down the roles. They were okay with just taking their clothes off but they didn’t feel comfortable about playing a porn star,” Zeze said.

With his minimalist approach, Zeze wanted to give “The Lowlife” a more voyeuristic feel by using hand-held cameras, which goes perfectly well with a movie that’s high on drama and raw emotions.

I was looking to create a documentary effect,” Zeze said. “I didn’t want it to look like a work of fiction. The point was to show the regular side of life, rather than just the salacious part of the business.

Sexuality used to be taboo, but that’s no longer the case — we’re trying to show that porn is a common form of sexual desire. It’s part of our daily lives, he added.

However, viewers hoping to get a moral story at the end of “The Lowlife” would most certainly be disappointed. The film tries really hard to avoid criticizing the AV industry or even talk about the dark side of it, particularly the preconception of how it exploits some of its actresses, Resonate reported.

In my heart maybe I didn’t want to focus on the murkier side of the business,” the 24-year-old former gravure model and author of the novel, Sakura, said in the interview.

Obviously not everyone is happy, like in most jobs. But not everyone is unhappy either. I feel that people too often want to draw the conclusion that all AV actresses are unhappy. Well, I’m not unhappy and I wanted to concentrate more on daily life, more on the light than the dark.”

Every year thousands of women make their debut in porn, the author of the novel added.

The girl next door could be a porn actress, or your friends could be. And while you can’t avoid stereotypes, hopefully this movie can help change perceptions a little bit.”

Featured image via YouTube / Tokyo International Film Festival

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