60 minutes | Rating: -
For far too long, sex workers have been stigmatized and misunderstood. Aka Ana offers a profound yet transgressive and raw depiction of their world, leaving no safety net for the audience. Photographer and visual auteur Antoine d’Agata travels to the dark sexual underground of urban Japan, meeting with prostitutes, porn stars, and junkies. He broodingly yet sensually illustrates the women as they perform various explicit sex acts, sadomasochism, and drug injections. By cleverly layering their narrations, d’Agata reveals their intimate stories of pleasure, isolation, trauma, and desire. The women are the protagonists of the film, and their scenarios, coupled with their brutally sobering accounts, clearly unveil all the conflicting intricacies of feminine sexuality, from masturbation, to the power of orgasms, to violence. Aka Ana is a daring and provocatively intense subterranean experience. D’Agata’s true achievement is his artful and multi-sensory approach to helping us understand these women and to expanding our own fearful boundaries. Karina Rotenstein.
Co-presented with CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival.