Scout Man

(Japanese)

Japanese director Masato Ishioka shows good instincts for capturing the ambience of mundane street life in his feature debut, Scout Man, a film that centers on the hustlers-entrepreneurs who recruit aggressively young women into AV (abbreviation for adult videos), bar girls, and other dubious jobs in the sex industry.

Despite potentially explosive subject and authentic locale and lingo, film suffers from excessive running time and repetition of ideas and lack of dramatic momentum. However, despite these problems, pic should travel the global festival circuit and be shown in venues with a particularly strong focus on the new Asian Cinema.

Narrative begins extremely well with a detailed chronicle of how scout men hang around the streets, soliciting young attractive women directly and openly, with no hiding of their real motives. While this new “profession” is not illegal, it defies public morality; at the same time, it's a job that can generate good income. Story proper centers on a young couple that has run away to Tokyo from a nearby city and the experiences they encounter while trying to make a living. Pic benefits from verisimilitude, due to Atsuhiro Nabeshima's striking lensing and Hiroshi Yamagata's sound, but decent acting can't really compensate for draggy pacing that makes pic's structural deficiencies all the more noticeable.

Credits

A Gold View Co. production. Produced by Kiyo Joo. Directed, written by Masato Ishioka. Camera, Atsuhiro Mabeshima; editor, Toshihide Fukano; music, Kouji Endo; sound, Hiroshi Yamagata.
Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (in Discovery), Sept. 14, 2000. Running time: 125 min.

With Miku Matsumoto, Hideo Nazikumi, Shiro Shimototo, Yuri Komuro.