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Sion Sono

#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Tokyo Vampire Hotel: Episodes 8 – 10 | Sion Sono

December 23, 2018
tvh3

Two years ago, we published Sion Sono: Love Leaves Destruction in Its Wake, an exhaustive review retrospective of nearly every feature film that Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono had directed to date. Tokyo Vampire Hotel is one of Sono’s latest releases — an eight-episode series made available for streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. Over the next several weeks, we’re diverging from our usual program of film and music coverage to take a closer look at this “mini-series,” in several installments.…

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#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Tokyo Vampire Hotel: Episodes 3 – 7 | Sion Sono

December 11, 2018
TVH6

Two years ago, we published Sion Sono: Love Leaves Destruction in Its Wake, an exhaustive review retrospective of nearly every feature film that Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono had directed to date. Tokyo Vampire Hotel is one of Sono’s latest releases — an eight-episode series made available for streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. Over the next several weeks, we’re diverging from our usual program of film and music coverage to take a closer look at this “mini-series,” in several installments.…

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#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Tokyo Vampire Hotel: Episodes 1 & 2 | Sion Sono

November 21, 2018
TVH1

Two years ago, we published Sion Sono: Love Leaves Destruction in Its Wake, an exhaustive review retrospective of nearly every feature film that Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono had directed to date. Tokyo Vampire Hotel is one of Sono’s latest releases — an eight-episode series made available for streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. Over the next several weeks, we’re diverging from our usual program of film and music coverage to take a closer look at this “mini-series,” in several installments. Sion Sono’s Tokyo Vampire Hotel, is…

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by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

Japan Cuts 2017

July 25, 2017
In This Corner of the World

Japan Cuts—the largest screening event for new Japanese films in North America—just wrapped its 11th annual edition this week. Our one and only dispatch from the fest this year includes new films from the auteurs Sion Sono (ANTIPORNO) and Kiyoshi Kuroawa (Daguerrotype); respected but lesser known directors like Nobuhiro Yamashita (Over the Fence) and Yûya Ishii (My Dad and Mr. Ito); and plenty of interesting work from the worlds of anime (Sunao Katabuchi’s In This Corner of the World), documentary (Kyoko Miyake’s Tokyo Idols), and the…

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by Luke Gorham by Sam C. Mac Retrospective

The Whispering Star | Sion Sono

September 2, 2016
Whispering Star

While much of Sion Sono’s early-aughts filmography is littered with cycles of violence and horror—films that plumb the depths of a darkness seemingly inherent in humankind—the ever-ubiquitous director’s finest of a whopping five 2015 theatrical releases pointedly proffers a rejection of its post-human world. With The Whispering Star, Sono opts for a lo-fi science-fiction yarn, a literal chamber drama defined by its textured images. He shoots in a high-contrast black and white, with stars, matches, and candles becoming light sources against an oppressive blackness…

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by 
Drew Hunt Retrospective

The Virgin Psychics | Sion Sono

September 1, 2016
Virgin 2

Sion Sono’s The Virgin Psychics is one strange movie, though not for the reasons his films are usually strange. True to its title, this high-concept comedy about a group of virgins who are bestowed fantastical abilities mixes the supernatural with frank illustrations of sex and desire, and while it features a number of crude and off-color gags, the tone is so lighthearted and inclusive that it ranks among the director’s least aggressive films. Like a screwball comedy director working in…

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by Jake Cole Retrospective

Tag | Sion Sono

August 31, 2016
Tag

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

August 30, 2016
Love & Peace

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 turtle that helps Ryoichi realize his callow dreams of fame and fortune. Instead of stomping the shit out of Ryoichi, Turtle—later renamed “Love”—forgives Ryoichi for not only abandoning him, but also becoming a colossal…

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by Christopher Bourne Retrospective

Shinjuku Swan | Sion Sono

August 29, 2016
Shinjuku-Swan

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 Ayano), who’s seen at the outset wandering Shinjuku with a rumbling stomach, a few coins in his pocket, and a massive chip on his shoulder. When Tatsuhiko gets in a fight with a bunch of guys…

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by Kenji Fujishima Retrospective

Tokyo Tribe | Sion Sono

August 26, 2016
Tokyo Tribe

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 glorious movie-about-moviemaking Why Don’t You Play in Hell? If anything, Tokyo Tribe even manages to top the blissfully insane pleasures of its predecessor. Imagine a Warriors-influenced rap musical set in a dystopian Tokyo wherein various street gangs are…

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by Chris Mello Retrospective

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? | Sion Sono

August 26, 2016
Why Don't

There’s a moment late in Why Don’t You Play in Hell? that neatly sums up Sion Sono’s distinctive vision. A boy crawls through a blood-soaked room to be next to the girl he loves, a girl he’s only just met — and there’s a sword running through his head as he does this, transforming him into a sort of grotesque unicorn. As in many of Sono’s best films, the extravagant violence here is motivated by grandiose emotions. And while it makes loud…

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by 
Drew Hunt Retrospective

Himizu | Sion Sono

August 25, 2016
Himizu

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 believe the film’s pessimistic view of Japanese society, Fukushima Daiichi wasn’t the only toxic thing about contemporary Japan. An unabashedly gloomy coming-of-age tale, Himizu turns a scornful eye toward a culture that promotes individualism while simultaneously hindering…

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