FANTASTIC FEST 2011
By Don Simpson | September 28, 2011
Director: Takaomi Ogata
Writer: Takaomi Ogata
Starring: Chavetaro Ishizaki, Rin Sakuragi
I really wish I did not know anything about Body Temperature before attending the Fantastic Fest 2011 screening. At this point, I can only wonder how the lack of information would have influenced my opinion on Takaomi Ogata’s film. For one thing, I think I would have been pleasantly perplexed for a majority of the 72-minute running time.
Just how long would it have taken me to figure out why Ibuki (Rin Sakuragi) remains motionless — other than when her flat-mate Rintaro (Chavetaro Ishizaki) moves her appendages — and speechless for the entire film? Rintaro has conversations with her, dresses her, buys her things, and even takes her outside in a wheelchair. So, would I have felt sorry for Ibuki when Rintaro forces himself upon her? When he makes her touch him in somewhat inappropriate ways? I probably would have thought: Rintaro seems like too nice of a guy to be a rapist — what the hell is going on here?
Then, when Rintaro meets Rinko (also Rin Sakuragi) — a woman who looks a hell of a lot like Ibuki — I would have been even more confused. Though this is also when Ibuki changes appearances — possibly as a conscious nod to Luis Buñuel — and becomes less real, as if she has become less real to Rintaro.
Without prior knowledge of Body Temperature‘s plot, I probably would have thought it was a brilliant mind fuck; one with an amazing performance by a Japanese porn star — Rin Sakuragi. Her eerily motionless portrayal of Ibuki renders the character as an almost lifeless replica of a real woman. Pure genius. Unfortunately, with knowledge of the plot, Body Temperature comes off as a cheesy yet off-kilter Japanese rom-com. So if you want to enjoy Body Temperature, go into it completely cold.