New Neighbor

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New Neighbor

As tough as it may seem, many foreigners have tried a breakthrough into the rigid Japanese movie industry. For sure one of the most obstinate is Norman England. It’s almost 20 years since he crossed the Pacific Ocean leaving from US, and he has accomplished to build a certain credibility on Japanese sets, playing as many roles as he could: photographer, actor or whatever it was needed. He’s a well known Godzilla fanatic expert and exactly on Godzilla’s sets he started his adventure. Then he didn’t fear to embark himself in as many crazy projects as he could, from straight to video craziness like Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies in the past, up to recent days where he spent much time on Sushi Typhoon movies’ sets. And last but not least he’s really a person with a lucid and firm vision about cinema.

His recent medium length (40 minutes) cinema effort as director demonstrates the assumption above. Filmed and edited against all the difficulties someone producing a movie in Japan can meet, the movie perfectly reflects his vision and disposition. The lead character is Ayano, a lesser known actress, but already spotted in the melodramatic ultragore short movie Bandaged directed by Hirose Takashi. She plays the role of a repressed woman who’s in an almost desperate search of a husband, in a land where getting married is more like a status symbol for mature people than a heart-felt final achievement of a sincere love story. Everything around her seems wrapped in sex and perversion. And when the hot escort Asami moves in as New Neighbor, things eventually collapse until the final confrontation between the virginal, somehow false and ridiculous repression of one girl, and the hot overflowing physicality of the other girl.

And speaking of Asami, you can’t really say anything bad about her. Japanese producers don’t seem to understand how these role-figures, they keep considering as minor characters, ends to be more interesting than many monochrome, tasteless main actresses chosen from some idol catalogue. Her status as cult actress is well consolidated in the eye of westerners, and England obviously promotes her as the other lead. On the other hand, the careful choice of many professionals – who had already contributed to a lot of crazy works by Nishimura and Iguchi – raises the quality of the product well beyond other examples, whether you consider some other foreigners who tried to direct in Japan – like the French director Guillaume Tauveron (Beyond the Blood) or the other American director John Cairns (Schoolgirl Apocalypse) -, or you compare it to other local productions with higher budgets. This probably proves that only years of work and study on a set gives you the strength to build a robust piece of genre cinema.