Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
Even the title is juicy with metaphor and sexual allusion in Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, a cheerily perverse homage to the rejuvenating mysteries of female sexuality from Shohei Imamura (he took the top prize at Cannes five years ago for ”The Eel”). The 75-year-old Japanese master has come up with an exuberant notion that might make the younger Farrelly brothers blush and giggle like boys: In orgasm, lusty Saeko (Misa Shimizu) gushes water enough to replenish fish-stocked rivers. This fertility (and appetite) isn’t lost on Yosuke (Koji Yakusho, who costarred so handsomely with Shimizu in ”The Eel”), a laid-off salaryman who meets the biological marvel when he comes to town seeking a valuable Buddhist statue he learns is hidden in a house by a red bridge near the Sea of Japan.
Imamura’s delight in the infinite oddity of men and women is goofy; it’s also, at heart, reverent. Every deadpan-dadaist character near this ”Red Bridge,” from Saeko’s mysterious granny to an African runner in Olympic training, is an exemplar of individuality, and sometimes just a freak. Ain’t sex a riot? old Imamura asks, and answers, too. It can be if it’s done right.