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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)




Kinbaku- Art of Bondage (Finland, 2009), at 13th TDF, Thessaloniki Film Festival
This fascinating short documentary film by director Jouni Hokkanen tells
the story of ‘tight binding’, a Japanese form of art through bondage on women who want to be bound. Apparently, tying things up is a sacred quality in the Shinto religion, and this does not exclude the tying up of people as well. Rope artists who express themselves through bondage are considered to have ‘rope fetishes’ using only girls who want to be hurt and feel pain and some who have habits of hurting themselves and opt to have someone hurt them instead.


One of the girls in the film admitted, ‘I always hurt myself but I thought…I thought maybe if someone hurt me I’d stop. I just wanted someone to cause me pain.’ She went on to say that she only likes it if others are watching her be tied up because otherwise it isn’t really happening if there aren’t witnesses present. So, she started to be a part of bondage shows where her and her pain-giving bondage artist would perform for paying audiences. There were also films made of these shows called ‘pinku-films’. A bondage artist who has tied up several thousands of people named Haruki Yukimura says that there is not a strong resistance to Japanese women being tied up. They come to the bondage place voluntarily because they want and need to experience pain.


Japanese women don’t get much attention so the question rises, ‘what do people do for sex?’ One of the artists speaking in the film stated, ‘With these women, tenderness is missing. Ropes can be better than therapy. In Japan, the woman in myths and tales are always tied up where in Western tales, the women are always depicted behind cages.’ If one looks at the art of traditional Japanese painting and drawings they will see a trend to the tying up of men and women. It is also cultural in Japan that suffering is seen as a good thing. Beauty is in suffering. So, they believe that pain is essential part of the human experience and that we need it. Psychologically the pain caused through bondage taps something in them perhaps cathartic, a place in their minds they refer to as a ‘sob space’. But of course, this is an art form and the pain has a limit to the amount of pain and domination the woman will tolerate as she wants to feel the pain and not die from it.


These bondage ‘rope fetish’ artists are tender and passionate about what they do and perform their tying up with love and creativity. It truly is an art form and inspiring. The film is beautifully shot and leaves the viewer aching for more. What a striking art form and stunning film!


Written by Vanessa McMahon, March 19, 2011


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