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Tribeca FF: Underwater Love is one of the strangest films ever

Underwater Love is a wacky and unusual mixture of love story, Japanese erotica, and bad music video
Underwater Love is a wacky and unusual mixture of love story, Japanese erotica, and bad music video
Film Boutique

Underwater Love


Usually I enjoy the diversity of the films at the Tribeca Film Festival. The offerings there run the gamut from short films, to documentaries to full-length feature films. That diversity allows filmgoers to enjoy films from different cultures, and offers different viewpoints and perspectives on love, relationships, injustice and redemption, comedy, tragedy and dramas.

Unfortunately, Underwater Love offers none of those redeeming qualities. At its core, the film is a simple love story, wrapped in a weird 'erotic' musical, with a kooky slice of Cheech & Chong-yness on the side.

Yes, not for the faint-hearted, Underwater Love was a film where at its premiere industry viewing on Saturday, many media representatives walked out after the first 20 minutes.

The ‘musical’ portions of the film were nonsensical and consisted of bad music video interludes where the actors lip-synched lyrics that had no relation to the plot and executed dance moves that would have made Elaine from Seinfeld look lyrical.

The soft-core porn portions were literally laughable and crude and uncomfortable – and the mystical portions of the film, which showcased the main character, Asuka, a fish processing worker reuniting with a childhood love who has been transformed into a kappa (a Japanese water sprite) were undercut by the campiness of the costumes and the heavy-handed script. Plus her love scenes were her fiancé were so obviously physically painful for her that you couldn’t help wincing in sympathy. Not a good movie going experience for anyone.

One out of five stars. Worth viewing only if you are interested in pinku eiga (the ‘pink’ soft-core porn genre of Japanese cinema). The director of this film, Shinji Imaoka, is apparently part of a new wave of pink directors known as the Seven Lucky Gods. It was interesting to see what pink films were all about, but having had the experience, it is definitely time to move on.

Underwater Love is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this Wednesday April 27 at 11:30 p.m. at the Chelsea Cinemas and again on Thursday April 28 at 11:30 p.m. at the same location. Go herefor the full schedule. Be aware that even if a film is sold out, there are often ‘rush’ tickets available at the last minute.

Tribeca Film Festival is a entertaining and highly diverse film festival – which is only a short train ride away on the MetroNorth New Haven line – and offers Connecticut residents an incredible variety of new films to watch, close to home – from full length features to documentaries to short films from all over the world – as well as film panels with screenwriters, directors and actors, and a host of special events. It is worth going into Manhattan and enjoying this festival; most of the films are interesting and buzz worthy.

Other Tribeca Film reviews:

Last Night– a wonderful, insightful film about relationships and faithfulness with Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington. Also available on demand from Cablevision.

The Good Doctor – an interesting melodrama about physicians and patients, starring Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings)

Cairo Exit – a modern Romeo and Juliet story, set in Egypt. Amal is Christian, her boyfriend Tarek is Muslim; their fates tied to a homeland that does not support their love.

Blackthorn – a film that lets us enjoy one more fine adventure with an aged Butch Cassidy, as he reconciles his past and teams up with a stranger in his quest to head home to the son he has never met.


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