Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 24th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2008
Director: Yutaka Ohgi
Writers: Masashi Shimizu, Yutaka Ohgi
Cast: Anri Suzuki, Zenkichi Yoneyama, Kouzo Sato, Rinako Hirasawa, Seiji Nakamitsu
DVD released: July 14th, 2009
Approximate running time: 73 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Cinema Epoch
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Secrets of a Desperate Housewife was co-written and directed by Yutaka Ohgi (Passions of a Private Secretary). The screenplay for Secrets of a Desperate Housewife is loosely based on the writings of Japanese erotica novelist / writer Oniroku Dan who’s most famous novel Flower and Snake (Hana To Hebi) has seen several cinematic incarnations over the years.
The plot for Secrets of a Desperate Housewife follows the same structure as the plot for Passions of a Private Secretary with new characters in echoing similar themes that are also present in the aforementioned film. This time around the pot revolves around Tsuyama the wife of a business and her downward spiral into sexual depravity after her husband’s company goes bankrupt. Her descent starts when a business associate of her husband (who also happens to be infatuated with her) convinces her to meet with her husband rival who is trying to take over his business. Foolishly she walks into a trap and the consequences of this event lead to her husband leaving her. Dejected and not wanting to go on living she briefly finds serenity working as part of live sex / S&M stage show. Her new found look on life comes from the degradation she consumes each night on stage.
This films biggest flaw is its lead actress Anri Suzuki who is cast in the role of Tsuyama. Her performance lacks depth and comes off a stilted. Also the rest of the cast don’t fare much better with only Rinako Hirasawa (leaving any lasting impression), in the role of the stage directors’ jilted lover who falls head over heels for Tsuyama. Some of her other notable films include Frog Song, Sex Machine and New Tokyo Decadence: The Slave. The plot moves along quickly and the happy ending is in contrast to the bleak endings prominent in some many similar themed films. Ultimately Secrets of a Desperate Housewife is an average take at best on the writings of Oniroku Dan.
Cinema Epoch presents Secrets of a Desperate Housewife in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. The interlaced image remains stable throughout with no excessive ghosting / blurring issues. Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate and details look sharp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese. The audio clear, evenly balanced and free of any audio defects. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and error free have been provided.
Extras for this release consist of a gallery with six stills and a promo image gallery of titles that are available on DVD from Cinema Epoch. Overall Secrets of a Desperate Housewife gets a well rounded audio / video presentation from Cinema Epoch.