Directed by: Shinji Aoyama
Starring: Masaki Suda (Toma), Ken Mitsuishi (Father), Yûko Tanaka (Mother), Yukiko Shinohara (Kotoko), Misaki Kinoshita (Chigusa)
Country: Japan, Effed Up Asian Cinema
Genres: Sexual-Violence against Women, Family, Teen-Childhood
Plot – Spoilers:
In a small Japanese town, teenager Toma who’s on the cusp of turning 17 is spilling raging hormones – when he needs to cum, he needs to cum. In this, his girlfriend Chigusa is accommodating, despite his fat cock sometimes hurting her.
But looming over the couple is Toma’s father who’s into violent sex and whose influence on Toma seems inevitable. At least, Toma’s mother thinks so. Though she lives away, the memories of beatings endured makes her interpret every behaviour or mannerism in Toma as indications of him turning out like his old man.
Toma struggles to understand all this. He’s a wimpy little kid and could even be described as a good kid with simple ambitions like getting out of his slummy surroundings. The first time he tries violence with his girlfriend, he ends up a defeated heap on the floor, with no will or strength to get his way.
The women around Toma drive the magic in this film, especially in their interpretation of abuse. Toma’s mother is bitter and in some ways seems to miss the beatings, because it suggests she’s not worthy anymore. Toma’s stepmom seems dumb but is probably more someone who likes to keep things simple. Even abuse. She enjoys being around Toma and his youthfulness that helps take her mind off the abusive relationship she’s in. Toma’s girlfriend is the most confident of the lot, walking the edge with Toma. Her juvenile naivete convinces her about the hold she has on their relationship which has been honed by her dedicated efforts to please him.
The Backwater is mostly about the evolution of violence and how the expectations of people, their belief that they know who you really are, and their constant reminders can drive a person to fulfil what then becomes their destiny. Or maybe even escape it.