ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Extraneous Matter (2021)

Directed and written by Ken’ichi Ugana, who also made the incredible short Vierailijat, this film takes an image that we associate with the pornographic — sexualized tentacles — and applies it to how being in some relationships is lonelier than being all by yourself, as well as alienation and fear of the unknown, across several episodes.

A young woman (Kaoru Koide) trapped in a loveless and definitely sexless relationship is attacked by an octopus alien that hides in her closet and while at first this is assault, it soon becomes the only thing she looks forward to. By the end, everyone in her life, including her boyfriend, has partaken in the sexual nirvana that this creature can create.

Another tale is about a man attempting to win back an ex-lover while training a creature with sweets. As the aliens multiply across Earth, humanity battles back in the third story, with soldiers gathering and killing them. One of those men finds an injured octopus creature and tries to protect it. Finally, two strangers meet in a bar after the aliens have been driven out.

Extraneous Matter Complete Edition does the opposite of what so many of the stories of alien sex in Japanese culture usually do: the story goes on past the sex. In fact, the tentacles being inside humans is such a small part of the story. It’s what is truly inside, the hidden reasons why we do what we do, that get explored within this film. Whether you can see that through all the glistening tentacles and strange looking eight-limbed soft-bodied monsters is your call.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

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