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Under The Carp Banner 
Written by: on March 12th, 2007

Theatrical Release Dates:
Japan, 1992
Director: Kazuhiro Sano
Cast: Akiko Tomonari, Kozo Ueda, Kanako Kishi, Taro Araki, Naoto Yoshimoto

DVD released: october 31st, 2006
Approximate running time: 55 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Artsmagic
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Two lovers steal a car and visit a relative who owns a spa resort. The owner of the resort has a son who suffered head trauma when he fell off the roof years ago and since the accident he has matured. The young boy has never seen the world outside of the village he lives and the two lovers take him to see the wonders of the big city. Will taking the young boy outside of his environment help him or will it only further damage his psyche?

Under the Carp Banner is more plot driven then most Roman Porno’s and the sex scenes feel more ruff around the edges and not as stylized. The two most disturbing sex scenes involve a homeless river man. In the first sex scene in the film we get to see to lovers go at it in their SUV and this scene is pretty stale outside of the moment of humor where a bum walks up and pleasure himself while watching them. Later in the film the same homeless river man gets to nail the wife of an impotent man. This scene is the best sex scene in the film and the one that is most representative of the Roman Porno genre.

Another interesting sex scene involves a very large cucumber. The film contains many odd ball characters with the strangest being a man who speaks in a language known as river people language and he chopped off his fingers because he wanted too have webbed fingers. Kazuhiro Sano direction is well done and he excels the most during scenes that are more social commentary driven and less about sex. The film despite only being fifty five minutes in length does have few moments where things come to a lull. Those who make it to the end with be rewarded with a violent and deeply profound ending that is sure to move everyone who sees it.

The DVD:

Under the Carp Banner is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors look faithfully reproduced and details look sharp through out. Overall the transfer for this release is on par with Artsmagic’s other Roman Porno releases.

This release comes with one audio option a Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital Stereo. There are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects and the dialog is clear and easy to follow. Removable English sub titles have been include that are easy to follow and understand.

Extras include bios for Kazuhiro Sano, Kanako Kishi and Taro Araki. Other extras include a twenty six minute interview with director Kazuhiro Sano who discusses humor/satire in his films, River Spirit language and his thoughts on the film Under a Carp Banner. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with film critic Jasper Sharp who discusses the films of Kazuhiro Sano, censorship in Japanese cinema and Roman Porno.

Under the carp Banner is more of a social satire and fans of Roman Porno might be let down by its lack of sleaze. Under the Carp Banner gets a solid DVD release from Artsmagic.

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