Turning Yoko Ogawa’s “Hotel Iris” into a film was never going to be easy. The 1996 novel centers on Mari, a bored 17-year-old hotel desk clerk who enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with a translator in his 60s. These days, a film about such an age-inappropriate liaison is, to put it simply, problematic.
In Hiroshi Okuhara’s film adaptation of “Hotel Iris,” which is now playing in theaters across Japan, the central relationship is not that of an elderly sexual abuser and his teenage victim. For one thing, Mari is played by 28-year-old Taiwanese actor and model Lucia. Also, Masatoshi Nagase, who plays the never-named translator, discussed the novel’s 50-year age difference with Okuhara prior to filming.
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