DVD Review: Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl (1981)

Posted on June 17, 2012 by Deaditor 2 Comments

Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl (1981)
Review by Uncouth

American interest in Japanese cinema has historically been limited to samurai flicks and anime. Western audiences lapped up Kurosawa’s epics as well as blood fests like Shogun Assassin (aka Lone Wolf and Cub) and anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. There is another side of Japanese cinema that has held equal interest with passionate cinephiles. The “this is so fucked it it had to come from Japan” genre. My entrance into the darker side of Japanese cinema came the same way as many. I gained my sleaze ticket by watching Takashi Miike films, my first being Audition and Ichi The Killer, followed by the champion of depravity, Visitor Q and it’s arty cousin, Gozu. Since then I’ve watched plenty of sleazy Japanese flicks that don’t know the meaning of the words “too much.” Recently I’ve been introduced to the ultra sleazy Roman Porno films made by Nikkatsu, thanks to Impulse Films. Roman Porno’s are pinku films’ more hardcore and dirty sister. Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl is no exception.

Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl tells the romantic tale of a rapist getting his comeuppance. Sort of. Sensei (I know that’s not a real name, but hell that’s what they call him) is a skin mag photographer, specializing in toilet pics, namely golden showers. At the beginning of the film he ties a woman up in an abandoned warehouse and rapes her. Fast forward to the present and he’s taking pee pics of a young girl. When said girl becomes unstable and runs off, a mysterious woman shows up and offers her body to the good of lonely men everywhere. As it turns out the woman is a wanted thief but sensei keeps taking photos of her anyway, fascinated by her beauty and her willingness to degrade herself for the sake of wank material. It’s revealed that sansei is a real lady killer whom “after he rapes a girl she falls madly in love with him.” Cue mysterious woman again and of course it’s the woman from the beginning who wants to get a rape revenge. This is no surprise as the audience knows who she is from the get go. Then, after being raped by the woman, sensei falls madly in love with her and they have lots of dusty dirty sex in public places followed by some watersports.

Alright it’s really hard to review this one. Personally I find rape in films abhorrent and I almost didn’t watch this one. There’s nothing “sexy” or “fun” about rape. It’s disgusting, soul crushing and life destroying. It’s hard for me to laugh and high five about this flick as I have strong feelings on the subject. Unlike other Roman Pornos that have something to say about human sexuality or just simply roll around in sleaze, this one glorifies rape and that’s not something I’m OK with. Rape = awful. OK, we’ve got that covered. The film itself is well shot and engaging and the inclusion of gratuitous golden shower action certainly makes the film stand out in a sea of sleaze. Like all Japanese films from this era, Zoom Up features no penetration and no shots of genitalia, though the filmmakers push the boundaries as far as they can go in that regard. If the film didn’t romanticize rape I would have liked it just fine. If you can swallow the lie that rape is fun, check it out. Otherwise, check out the other Roman Porno films Impulse has recently released.

Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl is available June 12, 2012 on DVD from Impulse Pictures.

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  • Deaditor says:

    Hey Uncouth, As the editor I’m hoping I might start a more intelligent dialogue around this review before it attracts trolls. I have to say that I admire how you’re willing to draw the line with what you find acceptable in film, and what goes too far for you. Personally, I don’t have a problem with rape on screen. I have a big problem with rape, but in sexually deviant cinema rape fantasy is a huge draw, not just for males, but also females. And I think here we have more a case of using rape for exploitation, rather than the filmmakers saying they condone rape.

    This said, while I don’t find rape taboo we all have those things which push our comfort zone. I don’t care for seeing children killed on screen. I made a big deal of that shitty Uwe Boll film where he brutally murdered a child for nothing more than shock value. Others I’ve spoken to won’t watch Cannibal Holocaust because of the cruelty to animals – something that was real, not implied.

    Ultimately I think it’s important that you drew this out of the film, though from a more critical standpoint I’d be interested in why you chose to watch/review a film from a distro line that specializes in the type of films you abhor.

  • Keri says:

    Roman pornos/pink films are exactly what you’d expect them to be – grotty, and full of grotty sex. Much of that sex will be framed in violent ways; these genres of film are all about pushing the bounds of good taste. In that respect, you can never accuse films in this genre of false advertising or gaining audiences by false pretences. They do exactly what they say on the tin.

    In terms of what they depict: exploitation and horror cinema has never been about fairness, equality or respect. If it was, there’s be a lot less horror and exploitation in the movies, if they existed at all of course.

    As for not wanting to see rape used as a shock plot device, fine, that’s a decision for the viewer, but to suggest that a filmmaker condones rape because they use it in their film? That way lies a very slippery slope of an argument.

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