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Author/director Oniroku Dan’s “Hana to Hebi (Flower & Snake)” is the recognized classic of sadomasochistic literature in Japan, probably equal in reputation to Pauline Reage’s “Story of O.” While the novel has been brought to the big screen in many guises — and to the small as well, in an pervy video game by erotic-games studio elf — it was the 1974 “Hana to Hebi” that first saw Nikkatsu studio’s roman poruno (big-budget adult movies) series move profitably into sadomasochism, and made its lead actress — Naomi Tani, the queen of sub sensuality — an Asian Bettie Page for the ’70s.

Of course, that was then, this is now. Much of the charm of the old roman poruno films lies in their retro-chic appeal, which leaves would-be remakers grasping for an angle. 2004 saw a retread of “Hana to Hebi” that proved it is still possible, even in the age of the Internet, to make a cinematic splash with a moderately-budgeted, well-shot softcore porn spectacle.

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