The Make-Up Room


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

"Even if the film is maybe slightly over-long you also feel that this is deliberate, thought out and worked through."

Makeup Room presents a classical unity of time, space and action, of one day behind the scenes on the shooting of a Japanese adult video (JAV).

The backstage aspect is important: though there are a number of (female) AV performers playing the roles of AV performers, Makeup Room is not itself an AV. All of the filming of the sex scenes occurs off screen such that what’s said and heard, including discussions of rape and incest scenes, is more pornographic than what is seen, which amount to a few, naturalistic, flashes of breasts and buttocks.

Copy picture

Most of the comedy is based around the premise that anything which can go wrong will. If it is necessarily exaggerated it also comes across as having groundings in the experiences of the filmmakers.

So, for example, the performer cast in the Lolita/schoolgirl role did not anticipate having so many lines to learn for the part. She and the performer cast as the mother, who has considerably fewer lines, have been made up and costumed for their roles when the matter of the schoolgirl’s having a tattoo comes up. It turns out to be a back-piece impossible to conceal with makeup, such that the performers have to swap roles, appearances and costumes – the last of which, of course, don’t fit...

Or then there’s one performer having unknowingly been cast for a ‘lesbian’ scene and being reluctant to have her long fingernails cut seeing as she’s just spent several thousand Yen having them done. Her partner for the scene is correspondingly reluctant to be fingered by those nails...

The performers and, through this, the director’s handling impress.

Even if the film is maybe slightly over-long you also feel that this is deliberate, thought out and worked through. A powerful dramatic scene between the makeup artist and one of the AV performers feels like a natural point of climax, but is followed afterwards by an anticlimactic coda as the community that has come together over the course of the day dissolves itself. Just another day at the orifice for most of those involved.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2015
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Comedy about a make-up artist working on a porno film shoot.

Director: Kei Morikawa

Writer: Kei Morikawa

Starring: Beni Itô, Nanami Kawakami, Lily Kuribayashi, Aki Morita, Takashi Naha, Kazuhiro Nakahara, Kentarô Sakai, Jin Satô, Akiyoshi Shibata, Takashi Shigematsu, Mariko Yoshimura

Year: 2014

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: Japan


EIFF 2015

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