ONAN


16mm, B/W, 7min., Music: Yasunao Tone, Award, Special Prize
International Experimental Film Festival, Brussels (1964)

Japanese



" This film narratives the story of young man who makes holes on nude photographs with a heated stick and later gives birth to a hue plastic egg (an art work of Natzuyuki Nakanishi who plays the role of the young man).
"ONAN is a work about desire (masterbation) which has no object but itself. The appearance of the large egg objectifies the man's desires. After colliding with the other (a girl), the hero falls down while still holding the egg, thus caricaturing the desire of the hero."
Takahiko Iimura


"The basis framework of the story is conventional, yet Iimura's way of telling is lift me with a new knowledge of love. What more can you ask of a film? For example, with all the expert gyrations of Bressons's film, BALTHAZAR, (which is about love too) it seemed to me just a remake of some very tired sentiments. ONAN shows, at least to me, that Iimura can handle narrative material where most avant gardists fear to tread. At the root, Iimura seems to have a feature-film-maker's sensibility."
Carl Linder, Film Culture 44, Spring 67


"In Onan (1962) a young man becomes aroused by looking at pictures of naked women in girlie magazines. He makes several visually-startling attacks on the photographs with a penile-looking stick he has heated in a hibachi; then he apparently masturbates. Later we see the man rolling around on the bed until he gives birth to a large egg, made of some synthetic substance. After rubbing the egg all over his body, he runs outside and offers it to a woman; her refusal causes him to lie down in a fetal position which he maintains until the end of the film. Onan suggests the essentially furstrating lifelessness of eroticism based on the callous exploitation of the female body. The implication seems to be that the sadistic attitude toward women revealed in the man's attacks on the photographs ultimately renders him an eternal baby in this real relationships with women."
Scott MacDonald (Afterimage, April, 1978)