A painting of me

Colour of Blood / Aka Ana

    4 May 2009, evening time

Hotdocs 2009 gets off to an interesting start. We watched one and a half films tonight, starting with the short film Colour of Blood. The movie is a short set of interviews with various North Londoners who are obsessed with blood and pain — people who cut themselves, drink blood, etc. The final interview is with a lady who thinks she is a straight up vampire. It’s interesting, a bit creepy, and a little bit funny. An enjoyable prelude to the main attraction.

The second film of the night was Aka Ana. It’s a film by Antoine d’Agata, who is a photographer at Magnum. I expected some amount of nakedness, and maybe some sex, but this film was way more explicit than I thought it would be. Way more explicit. The idea for the movie is as follows: Ladies working in Japanese brothels talk about their experiences, while we watch them; very explicit raw sexual violent footage paired with their soft intimate narration. It’s crazy. We ended up leaving early, Shima didn’t want to watch yet another Japanese woman have sex. I suppose I can’t blame her. This is the sort of film you really need ample warning about before you walk in and watch it. And this is definitely the sort of film you feel awkward watching in a crowded cinema. Some things you can’t un-see. What a movie.

Aka Ana on the Hotdocs 2009 site.

Update: And thinking back, the lady who did the introduction for the film mentioned how this film probably wouldn’t be seen on the big screen anywhere else, and made other off hand remarks that should have clued us to the fact it was going to be a whole of lot sex and va-jay-jays.

Update: This review of Aka Ana is great.



  1. Thanks for the shout-out!

  2. I dont know what was more disturbing. What I was watching on the screen, or, the fact that a lot of people were walking out and I didnt walk out with them. The write up in the Hot Docs program does not even come close to capturing what this film was about.

  3. More than any other film i’ve seen on this subject, this one is by far the rawest. It’s one thing for a prostitute to explain to you how her life is bleak or depressing. It’s something else entirely to see the violence of her life. If his point was to show that there is absolutely nothing glamorous about their lives, I think he succeeds. I need to track the film down and watch the whole thing at some point. We left at the half way mark I’m guessing, about a half hour in.

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