Monthly Archives

August 2016

by Jake Cole Retrospective

Tag | Sion Sono

August 31, 2016

The jarring, discordant tones present in Tag are established within just the film’s first few images, which juxtapose an ominous helicopter shot of school buses and the dissonant swell of a cello against carefree scenes of the teenage girls that reside inside, as they engage in pillow fights. Almost immediately, gales of razor-sharp wind slice the tops off the girls’ school buses, leaving only a baffled, terrified, and blood-soaked Mitsuko (Reina Triendi) to look wide-eyed at her bisected peers. Only in the demented world…

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by Simon Abrams Retrospective

Love & Peace | Sion Sono

There’s a moment at the end of Love & Peace, an otherwise lumpy adult fairy tale, where the story threatens to come to a satisfyingly destructive head. At this point, Ryoichi (Hiroki Hasegawa), an office drone turned rock star, is confronted by Turtle, a magical kaiju-sized snapping…

August 30, 2016
by Christopher Bourne Retrospective

Shinjuku Swan | Sion Sono

Shinjuku Swan, an adaptation of Ken Wakui’s manga series, finds director Sion Sono at his slickest, glossiest, and most impersonal. Set in the bustling titular section of Tokyo, specifically the Kabukicho red-light district, the film follows the travails of the bleached blond-maned Tatsuhiko (Go…

August 29, 2016
by Kenji Fujishima Retrospective

Tokyo Tribe | Sion Sono

Though the presence of Shota Sometani, the tortured lead actor of Sion Sono’s Himizu—who’s even sporting the same gray hoodie he wore in that previous film—establishes a link between Sono’s more serious Fukushima Daiichi disaster-related films, Tokyo Tribe is resolutely in the maximalist vein of the director’s…

August 26, 2016
by 
Drew Hunt Retrospective

Himizu | Sion Sono

Sion Sono’s near-masterpiece Himizu takes place in the shadow of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and ensuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, the largest such event since Chernobyl in 1986. The disaster left the surrounding area and national psyche ravaged, but if we’re to…

August 25, 2016
by Jake Mulligan Retrospective

Guilty of Romance | Sion Sono

An unfulfilled housewife drifts away from her mannered husband by selling her body whenever he’s away in Sion Sono’s Guilty of Romance—a film that seems in conversation with Luis Buñuel’s classic Belle de Jour. As with his forebear, the central transgression Sono is after is the wandering sex life of…

August 25, 2016
by Zach Lewis Retrospective

Bad Film | Sion Sono

Despite its 2012 release, Bad Film captures a Sion Sono before he reached international acclaim; before his particular brand of otaku-influenced action films; and before his unabashed revelry in exhibitionism and voyeurism. It was filmed back in the mid-’90s, way before Sono’s breakout Suicide Club, and…

August 24, 2016
by Alex Engquist Retrospective

The Land of Hope | Sion Sono

Only in a filmography as stylistically restless and formally anarchic as Sion Sono’s would a somber family drama like The Land of Hope be considered a radical departure. Made in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, Sono’s film…

August 23, 2016
by Sean Gilman Retrospective

Love Exposure | Sion Sono

Sion Sono’s Love Exposure is an epic, four-hour romantic comedy about terrible fathers, upskirt photography, Catholicism, and the meaning of love. Where Sono’s Bicycle Sighs could be categorized as a fairly typical minimalist art film, and his Suicide Club firmly entrenched itself in the millennial wave of Japanese horror, Love…

August 22, 2016
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