A crowd-pleasing recipe, whether for a delicious dish or a cool cocktail, comes down to carefully taking care of your essential ingredients. In this case, add equal parts thriller, sex comedy and gastronomy and you have Japan’s Sexual Drive—an unconventional trilogy that examines the appetites of three couples, both carnal and culinary.
From Japanese filmmaker Kôta Yoshida comes Sexual Drive, a 70-minute dish that highlights aphrodisiac foods and secret desires. A trio of stories with one recurring character, each segment features an Asian food item along with sexual frustration and fantasy.
The first dish (or appetizer) is Natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented whole soybeans often served as breakfast food and often with rice. Here, married designer Enatsu worries about his sexless life and fears his wife is cheating on him. She is. Enter the creepy Kurita who tells Enatsu that he has been having an affair with Enatsu's wife and wants to apologize while graphically revealing intimate secrets about his and Enatu’s wife sexual relationship. Every dripping shot of the Natto dish gives new meaning to the term superfood.
Our second entrée is Mapo Tofu, a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province that consists of tofu set in a spicy sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright lava red sauce. Here, office worker Akane is recovering from panic attacks. While driving alone for the first time in a long time, she accidentally runs over Kurita. What follows is some intense back and forth about bullying, masochism and Mapo tofu. Watching Akane make Mapo tofu is hot, hot, hot. Beware of the fire in her kitchen.
The last dish, or main entrée, is Ramen with extra back fat. Accompanying this item is elite advertising agent Ikeyama who wants to end his relationship with his mistress. After finishing work, Ikeyama receives a phone call from Kurita saying he has abducted Ikeyama's lover. The suspicious man who calls himself Kurita gradually reveals secrets of their sexual drive. The fatty and decadent ramen dish is hot comfort food that tends to get messy, just like this particular relationship.
After watching Sexual Drive, I was craving the film’s three dishes. In fact, that may be the best way to enjoy this romp. Prep them in advance, pair with some sake or beer and enjoy each segment with its accompanying dish. Now that’s a fine time at the movies.
‘Sexual Drive’ will premiere via virtual cinema, VOD and digital on April 22.