User Reviews: Skin of Roses is a fascinating piece of Japanese cinema. When looking at what Pinku Eiga and , more specifically, Roman Porno, are, one might go in to a film like this not expecting much. Indeed, this film exists to serve a very specific purpose, and that is to have as many as-graphic-as-the-censors-would-allow sex scenes possible within a 72 minute run time.
Getting this out of the way first and foremost, because this is a work of Pinku Eiga from Japan in 1978, that means that there is censorship. Scenes including such things as "hair nude" wouldn’t even be allowed to be shown until the 80s, so there is a bit of censorship in this film. Some of the censorship relies on cleverly placed objects or placement of the camera, and other types of censorship are a large blur on the screen. This may turn people away, so I thought I’d get that settled first. My favorite bit of censorship has to do with the placement of a fish bowl as I thought that that served as a bit of an interesting framing of the scene as, not only can you see the scene happening as it would normally be shown, but there is also a duplication of that scene, albeit much smaller, within the fish bowl. This may or may not have been a deliberate decision by the director, but it adds a level of depth to the scene and the characters when taking into consideration the context of what’s already happened thus far. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I liked that bit of censorship.
For a film that is supposed to have a low budget and strict shooting deadlines, Skin of Roses is extremely cinematic. It’s visually beautiful to look at. In the framing of certain images in the beginning, the way the film manages to juxtapose the erotic and the violent based on the movement of the camera and the composition of the shots, it’s all very well crafted.
The story this film tells doesn’t have too much going on in it, but this is Pinku Eiga, which is sort of an intellectual exercise unto itself, and the story manages to be concise, yet comprehensive, and manages to connect all of the sex scenes together in a way that makes sense which is not the easiest feat. This film feels organized and never tries to step outside of what is necessary to convey its story. Is there filler? Sure, but it never feels out-of-place and, in the end, is very logical.
I did notice some technical errors with this film. Seconds after a sex scene begins, there is a hiccup in the image which, I’m sure, is probably some kind of marker so that they knew where to pay attention for whatever necessary censorship. But it does distract, albeit momentarily, from the scene and whatever significance it may or may not have. I also noticed some obvious overdubbing which felt a bit silly, and the audio quality itself is not so great, even for 1978 standards.
Some of the things that take place in this film reminded me a little bit of the first two 50 Shades films, except this is executed in a much more enjoyable way. Even if you might not be in to SM or anything like that, this film manages to pull a lot of similar tricks as the 50 Shades films but execute it in a way where the eroticism is much, much more prevalent than in thos films, which is surprising. But then again, Hollywood can only go so far, and while Japanese censors do limit what can and can’t be shown in any work of film consisting of nudity, this is not constrained with the need to generate profits and, thus, artistic vision is better preserved and we get better shot, acted, and edited scenes than the comparable ones in the 50 Shades films. I found the parallels fascinating.
Looking at the score for this film, I thought that it would be straight bad or so bad, it’s funny or something of the sort. While it isn’t anything Earth-shattering, it is actually a well-made film with a sense of direction and style in mind. I think it is executed well and I think serves as a good example of a non-satirical work of Pinku Eiga. I would recommend it to anyone who might not have already seen this film yet and have an interest in sexploitation or Pinku Eiga.