Today, Masayuki Suo’s Abnormal Family (1984) opens a short cycle of three restored Pinku films (Japanese soft-core) shown in FNC’s TEMPS Ø section.
Was it a rite of passage to set foot into the industry for Masayuki Suo? The man who went on to do more mainstream works, including the largely popular Shall We Dance? (1996) had to start somewhere…
Abnormal family introduces us to the Mamiyas, whose eldest son just been married. The new bride is introduced into a household in which the original portrayal of Japanese family by master Yasujiro Ozu’s has mutated into the world of popular pinku eiga, the Japanese softcore subgenre. You get an alcoholic widower figure for a father, the adolescent son is into voyeurism with plenty of material with new weds in the house, the young daughter leaving her office girl job to work in a sex sauna.
Suo does make the best of it. He plays with codes of Japanese family and structures of Yasujiro Ozu’s celebrated Tokyo Family (1954), to turn them upside down. Where some can see a pastiche, or others an outrage, his comedy take on both the social microcosm of Japanese society that is family and the revered classic, spinning on the shoe string budget of such ventures, confine within boundaries of the Pinku is a fine example of what to do with a genre. A classic.