In the makeup room of a porn shoot, a lot of things are going on. Everything seems to be working against the production, with crew not showing up and actresses being late - or showing up hungover. Sometimes even showing up as virgins! The makeup woman tries to keep the entire cast and the film's director calm while she gets her work done, but it's easier said than done when everything goes wrong.
Filmmaker Kei Morikawa has had a career in porn, and uses this as inspiration to create this comedy set in a makeup room of a porn shoot. Packed with a cast of adult film actresses, the setup comes even more to life. While I have not seen his porno's, I wasn't sure what to expect after a few minutes of "Makeup Room". In fact, it was so basic, cheaply shot with many static shots of the whole room that I expected to get bored quickly. But "Makeup Room" might have been one of the most captivating movies I've seen in the past month, from purely being entertained by everything that the movie is.
The movie literally only takes place in a makeup room, with no exceptions. It's a makeup room at a porn shoot, and the movie focuses on the makeup artist (starring Aki Morita, who is not a porn actress in real life) and the actresses (real life porn actresses). While the director and his assistant run back and forth between the shots, worrying about every detail, the makeup artist tries to keep things steady and functional. But it's not easy when she is all alone due to her assistant never showing up, and she has to take care of six adult actresses - all of which have their own problems. The big star arrives hungover, another girl is a newbie in the industry and a virgin, and none of them have actually read the script (which contains a lot more dialogue than any of them are used to).
The fact that "Makeup Room" has quite bad cinematography and takes place in one room doesn't matter once you get past the first couple of minutes. This is a wonderful, funny farce. It's not too often you get a farce nowadays, but this is probably the closest to one that I've seen in years and I loved it more than almost any I can think of. Yes, it's incredibly basic and some jokes are predictable, but it's done with such perfect timing and quirks. You get to know every single character and the issues that come up are either so typical that they are funny, or completely out of nowhere. It takes everything you can expect to go wrong in a porn shoot and throw it all onto the same day at this production.
Another thing that I enjoy that made me think of farce theater, is that the movie feels like it is in real time, but an hour in the story takes just a few minutes at times. Still it manages to get the jokes across without having us question it. You can thank the simplicity of the movie for that. It feels like a play, so why would we not react to it as if it was? It even has many moments where actresses and actors leave the room as if they went backstage to await their next scene. It was really lovely to watch.
Oh and of course, I have to admit that the acting from everyone involved was spot on. It's hard to know what to expect from porn actresses in regular movies, but these knew what they were doing. It might not be enough to scrap the myth that porn actresses/actors can't act, but it surely shows that you can't know for sure until you see them in other roles.
This is a really fun movie that exceeded my expectations. It has a director who knows everything that can go wrong when making porn, and it's used in the plot in the funniest, oddest ways. We spend around 90 minutes in just one room, with very simple camera shots, but time flew by and I was sad to see it end. I'm really happy that Third Window Films are releasing something like this because it could easily be overlooked without a good distributor behind it. And we all know that Third Window is, bar none, the very best for Asian cinema.