Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Love Exposure vs. Battle Royale

Why had I not heard about this movie?

Not Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) - I picked up that DVD a few years ago (in Australia) and it remains one of my favourites.

I'm talking about Love Exposure (愛のむきだし), a 4-hour 2008 romp directed by poet/filmmaker Sion Sono that I watched tonight thanks to the prescient people at Madman in Oz, who sent me the promo unexpectedly.

I loved it.

If you go to Wikipedia they say that it's "a 2008 Japanese movie, written and directed by Sion Sono. The film gained a considerable amount of notoriety in film festivals around the world for its four-hour duration and themes including love, family, lust, religion and the art of up-skirt photography. It won many awards and positives reviews."

Which is kind of simplistic, really.

This is a film that forces together Quentin Tarantino and Ryuhei Kitamira, a four-hour compendium of self awareness, Christianity, hip fun, tragedy, comedy and farce/flip moments that borders on the hentai (perverse) and hard knocks.

The story itself tips towards some perverted moments and blood/gore, along with cult religion, panties photography, domestic abuse, and a soundtrack that gloriously includes Beethoven's 7th Sypmphony, as also recently used to such good effect in The Fall.

The acting tour de force here comes, equally surprisingly, from Takahiro Nishijima (from J-Pop band AAA) as our hero Yu.

All up, it's a sensationally surprising and engaging flick.

Strangely, enough, too, there's a van on the beach that's a dead-ringer for a van I discovered down the Miura Peninsula (an hour or so from Tokyo) earlier this week.

The van I stumbled across in the middle of nowhere had quite obviously been retrieved from the sea, with no back-story I could find.

I'd gone in search of the Tsurugizaki Lighthouse that was used in Battle Royale, the 2000 film directed by Kinji Fukasaku and starring 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Chiaki Kuriyama and Kou Shibasaki.

I took some happy snaps of said lighthouse, got sunburned, walked for several hours, and discovered some obscure fishing villages as well as a cliff-side walkway that was more dangerous than fun.

It was also crawling with those beach cockroaches I mentioned in earlier entries (Shikinejime, for instance).

But honestly?

I had one of the best times of my life.


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