Lovers Are Wet (1973) by Tatsumi Kumashiro

An enchanting gem from the Roman Porno era.


Upon returning to his hometown under mysterious circumstances, Katsu finds himself wandering around town, σtarting off by working at a local theatre, where he ends up having an affair with the theater owner. Given his nature, though, Katsu soon begins to wander away from the theater and meets a young couple, spending the rest of his days in their company.

"Lovers Are Wet" will screen at Five Flavours, that will be on in Warsaw November 15-22. 


Katsu's past remains somewhat hidden, refusing to acknowledge his identity to the various townsfolk that recognizes him from his youth. Although his secret is never made clear the severity is made clear through his reactions to those in the town and his somewhat nihilistic nature. His adamant denial of his true identity also alludes that there is someone trying to track him down. "Lovers Are Wet" becomes a brief glimpse into the life of this mysterious figure and his faults that turned him into the man that he is. 

Not too heavy on plot, "Lovers Are Wet" instead relies on its actors to tell the story. Although everyone plays their role rather aloof, it works well with the film and the atmosphere Kumashiro was trying to create. The film is a bleak character study and Toru Ohe is ideal in the role of Katsu. Although not commanding a wide range of emotions, he takes on the part with such certainty and confidence that he becomes one of the most memorable protagonist's I have come across in the Roman Porno subgenre. As a result, the rest of the cast is elevated by adding depth to Katsu's mysterious character, given the fact that much like the viewer, the rest of the cast is trying to better interpret who Katsu is.

The film is well shot and on par with the standards that fans of erotic films of the 70's would expect. The visuals are elevated above the regular fare with some great location work. From the cramped theater to the open fields, I always enjoyed the surroundings the characters found themselves in. The score is fitting and familiar of the exploitation films of the time period, it lacks any one track to make it stand out to those who enjoy the scores of the era, but it is enjoyable and suits the film well.


 "Lovers Are Wet" is one of those rare films whose obscurity escapes me, given its many positive traits. The film portrays a short period in a man's life that can be reviled but is ultimately fascinating. The lack of history, backstory, and narrative, which can be a detriment, instead add a great deal of charm and mystery that draws you deep into the character as you struggle to understand who he really is. Resulting in the characters demanding the viewer's attention to better understand the character. 

The production was reminiscent of the work of Koji Wakamatsu, albeit stripped of a greater social or political commentary. It is relatable in its outstanding cinematography and how fascinating the characters become, not through the script, through them acting on their carnal desires and analyzing their faults. The film ends a rather bleak and devastating note, also a common trait of a Wakamatsu production, that should leave a lasting effect on the viewer.

This movie should be a must watch for fans of Japanese exploitation film. The lack of story may frustrate some, but those who find beauty in the simplicity that can be found in Roman Porno films of the time period should be entranced by this gem.

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Asian Film Vault: Lovers Are Wet (1973) by Tatsumi Kumashiro
Lovers Are Wet (1973) by Tatsumi Kumashiro
An enchanting gem from the Roman Porno era.
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