Wanting to escape Japan and a failed romance, young Tokyo beauty Harumi (Nogawa) volunteers to become a “comfort woman” on the Manchurian front, where her body will become the property of hundreds of lonely soldiers. Yet when a sadistic officer, Lieutenant Narita (Tamagawa), claims her as his private mistress, Harumi finds refuge in — and falls in love with — his kindly subordinate, Mikami (Kawachi).
Agony and ecstasy are dramatized at a fever pitch in Suzuki’s tragic, erotically charged “Story of a Prostitute,” based on a novel by Taijuro Tamura. Few filmmakers have Suzuki’s gift for flair, and his psychedelic gangster epics are justifiably famous. Here, he focuses on the stark choice faced by lovers in wartime: whether to choose personal passion over patriotic loyalty. With an unsentimental eye and a symbolic visual touch, Suzuki’s “Story” is a sizzling look at sex and love, duty and honor.