Filmmakers who worked on Nikkatsu’s “Roman Porno” line during the ’70s and ’80s were nothing if not experimental. As long as they delivered the continuous stream of nudity and sex expected by their bosses and the audience, they could do whatever they pleased with the actual storyline. Thus, these films often contain some of the strangest stories ever marketed to filmgoers as sexploitation fare, often incorporating wild and totally unpredictable shifts in mood.
Story Of White Coat: Indecent Acts is an example of those kinds of wild tonal shifts from late in the Roman Porno cycle. The heroine is a young nurse (Mina Asami) who just wants to be the best she can at her profession. She’s naturally shy and timid, two qualities that make her especially desirable for the perverted rich son of a hospital shareholder, who sets his sights on having her whether she wants it or not.
The rich kid’s bodyguard, who secretly has romantic feelings for the nurse, watches impotently from the sidelines as his boss schemes until he can finally corner the nurse. He takes her by force – and what follows next is truly unpredictable. Let’s just say that the encounter awakens strange new attitudes about sex in the previously docile nurse and the bodyguard steps up from the sidelines to play a vital role in what follows.
Story Of White Coat: Indecent Acts is a real rollercoaster ride from a tonal perspective. It starts as a raunchy comedy, complete with a scene where the rich son gets his hands on the wrong nurse and ends up with the crabs. However, the main protagonist is written differently from the other characters, portrayed like the earnest heroine of a melodrama who mistakenly stumbled into a sex comedy.
Asami plays that heroine role straight, giving a serious performance no matter how wacky the plotting gets. She’s quite good: in fact, the helpless terror she expresses when being assaulted by the rich son makes those scenes hard to watch. When the story shifts into a stranger, more dramatic direction for its final reel, her performance takes on a weirdly tragic grandeur that makes this narrative shift compelling.
Director Hidehiro Ito can do little with the crazed storyline other than give it snappy pacing and a decent look so he contents himself with that. He pretty much leaves the actors to their own devices (aside from Asami, the men overplay and the women vamp it up) but he’s pretty inspired when it comes to choreographing the sex scenes for the camera. In fact, two of the big setpieces are captured in a single take with a mobile camera shifting through several angles to capture some complex action, including dialogue from the actors! Like his leading lady, Ito never misses a beat no matter what the story throws at him – and he brings the whole thing in at a stunningly quick 55 minutes.
Like much Roman Porno fare, Story Of White Coat: Indecent Acts is for specialized tastes. Its indelicate, judgement-free treatment of rape as a plot point will offend sensitive viewers and its crazed mixture of tones will leave those not fascinated by Japanese pink cinema scratching their heads. However, if you can roll with its perverted sense of ambition, Story Of White Coat: Indecent Acts is another one-of-a-kind sexploitation blitz from Nikkatsu. They don’t make smut like this anymore (and they’d probably be arrested if they tried).
DVD Notes: this title has made its debut on U.S. DVD courtesy of a new disc from Impulse Pictures. It boasts a new anamorphic transfer that is as crisp and colorful as the other titles in this series. The Japanese mono soundtrack is nice and clear, bolstered by a fresh set of English subtitles. In terms of extras, there is a wild trailer on the disc and a set of liner notes by Jasper Sharp included as a booklet in the disc case.