Sugar Sweet

Year: 2001

Year: NR

Sugar Sweet is not as saucy as the movie summary suggests. In fact, it is a cute comedy and love story, purportedly the first film from Japan by a lesbian filmmaker. If it had taken place in the US, and starred American actors, I’ll admit that it wouldn’t seem as fresh as it did. But the truth is, Sugar Sweet was an enlightening peek into another culture’s lesbian community.

Naomi is a struggling filmmaker, relegated to making lesbian porn for a male-dominated studio. They decry her work as too arty (because of all her soft-focus shots, I suppose, because her film *does* have the typically awful porn music!), and tell her to start over and give them what the (straight male) customers want. Her friends think she is a sell-out, and she seeks solace, support, and a bit of a flirtation with a secret online friend named Sugar.

Then Naomi gets the chance to direct a daring girl-girl dating show for TV, and sets up her friend Azusa with a saucy woman named Miki, who is an executive by day, and an exotic dancer by night (you know, I think that premise would go very well on American TV!). Of course, this uptight executive likes to practice a little stern discipline with her lovers after hours, so the making of the show starts to steam up (whapish!).

Despite what obviously looks like a limited budget, a sometimes clunky script, and an ending that you can see coming from a mile away, director Desiree Lim has created a slice of culture that I sure haven’t seen on screen before. Forays into a Japanese lesbian exotic-dancer club, with techno-rock blaring in the soundtrack (thank GOD there was no strummy-guitar chick music in this movie!), and dancers wearing fake breasts and dildos that swung about, was certainly eye-opening!

So I have to say, though not a great film, Sugar Sweet is a welcome addition to contrast the so-nice-and-politically-correct-it’s-intolerable genre of (most) lesbian films.

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