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SHINJUKU BOYS

UK, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Kim Longinotto, Jano Williams

Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams are back Ivexplonng another gender-bending facet of the flipside to Japanese society—following on from their successful documentary on the Takarazuka Review dancers. Dream Girls (MIFF 1994)

Sfiinjuku Boys takes us into the heart of the queer underbelly of Tokyo, to the aptly named Marilyn Club, where roles have been completely reversed and straight women while away their time and money with female cross-dressers called 'onnabe'. Giving incredibly frank inter­views and insights into their lives, the film centres on three 'onnabe' employees of the Marilyn Club Gaishi is a tough-talking playboy who fools around with a number of girlfriends, giving, but never receiving sex, afraid to destroy the illusion she has bulit up. Kazuki lives with Kumi, a transsexual dancer, in a seemingly happy and fulfilled relationship. Hormone-enhanced Tatsu lives with Tomoe, a 'straight' woman, regretting that they will never be able to have children. All three have found a place where they 'fit' in a unforgiving society.

With a number of deeply honest moments-including one absorbing scene in which Kazuki finally confronts her mother, by phone, about her sexuality-Shinjuku Boys gets straight to the point, delivering an accessible, human and fascinating look at yet another side of the Japanese. in what is fast becoming a genre all of its own. with a number of documentaries in recent years delving into very different aspects of lapanese society. (TP)

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