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Guilty Of Romance Reviews

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Nicki M

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2011
Still trying to get my mind around this one!
Story about a woman who slowly becomes unhinged as she gets into nude modeling by chance and then meets a beautiful but also deranged older woman who lures her into prostitution.
There's also a murder mystery here, but it's pretty secondary to the main story which plays out like a nightmare. I seriously started to question what was real and what was imagination here.
Really a good, compelling and original movie which is a little twisted. I could not look away from it. The scene with the friend and her mother at the table is also hilarious. (not sure if it was meant to be, but it tickled me, these two smiling politely while saying awful things about each other). Actually behind that is a really sad story about incest and abuse, but at face value it is funny. Though there's obviously some really tragic stuff here including spouse abuse, it is not really played out that way. More like a cautionary tale about giving in to your dark side. Liked it a lot.

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2011
guilty of romance is adapted from a true criminal case happened in tokyo at the end of nineties. it happened in the love-hotel district where prostitutes and adulters hanged around. the woman's body was decapitated and her limps mutated to be restitched with a sex doll. japanese crime-noir director sino sono re-invents the story loosely based on the true event, and it becomes guilty of romance. if tossed in the realm of comparative cinema, guilty of romance could be a japanese version/interpretation of catherine deneauve's belle de jour for sharing the element of middle-class prim housewife suddenly going slutty for a curious taste of sweet debauchery, a swallow of the forbidden fruit.(mockery on bourgeois hypocrisy) except it's blended with lots of gory blood dipped in semen, incest and murder as well as a dose of unfulfilled plantonic lesbianism.

from the version i view (there's still another version un-available in my region), there're two major stories concerning two women's descendences into corruptions: a housewife and an university literature professor. the movie adapts an intertextual reference of kafka's castle to anchor the psyche of female transgressions since the ultimate victim(literature professor) in this picture has an obsession with kafka's castle, and she even compares the love-hotel district as a castle of lust where people're entangled by the excess of desire. as for herself, she's bounded in a continuous relationship of incest with her father, who's also a literature-professor and his favorite book is kafka's castle until his death. the film creates a sense of disturbance by the dichotomic juxtaposition of classy etiquettes and seedy circumstnaces. mahler's symphony n. 5 is played throughout the picture in one soft-core pornographical scene after another as an attempt to give the course of human decadence a refined poetic interpretation. "welcome to the hell of love" is a slogn loudly announced in the picture as one woman acts as the mephistopheles who introduces another (faust) into the domain of self-acknowledge, a journey of exploring her darkness within, testing the depth within the abyss of her lust. in other words, how low a woman could descend in her wild pursuit of sex? it's about two seemingly proper and dignified women's lives at night, volunteering to do street-prostitution for the sake of pleasure.

despite the crime in the film seems misogynistic, like an outrageous violence against woman, whose genital is brutally hollowed out, whose head is deprived to be assembled with a dead object (plastic sex doll). it does sound like an expression of extreme hatred toward the woman, and inevitably the premise would guide you into one of those american serial killer movies where gender-cide is a prevailing topic. (thanks to ted bundy and ed gein, texas chainsaw massacre) but it's NOT. this is a crime scene devoid of man, a psychological torture-chamber between the womankind since the killer in the end is the professor's mother who resents her daughter for monopolizing her husband's affections. all the women here are trapped within the castle of love and lust, which are in the peculair "circle of human feelings" where lust is permissible as long as you don't violate the rules or trespass the boundaries (according to ruth benedict's book on japanese ethnology "sword and chrysanthemum"), something not to be measured by the puritanical/christian standard of the west. but in this case, what these women are guilty of is not lust or love or romance (the english translation is quite catchy indeed, but also confusing), but the crime of failing to discern the boundaries between them. universally, isn't it what film noir (or any kind of noir) is about? the protagonist's dysfunction to discern between love and sex, often entwined in a romance without love, or deeming the object of your lust as the goddess of your ritualistic human sacrifice.

(ps) this movie changes my impression of japanese females..
the women in this picture are just SO sensual and of them is just SO voluptuous. of course, she is also former model of some erotic photography. (which means not your typical girl-next-door lily man adores..but a special case...i simply ADORE special case in almost anything! ha)
July 7, 2012
I think it's either a hit or miss movie. He has quiet an issue to raise that I think is very interesting to explore, but at the end it is not so much about it anymore.
September 22, 2013
The only really interesting ideas are taken from Buenel's "Belle de jour", however, this movie has a different style, a typically oriental aesthetic and is more perverse. The main character is not convincing, his psychology is practically non-existent, she seems an empty container. The various chapters of the film are connected between them in an approximate manner and the overall movie is boring. The protagonist's beauty is one of the main reasons to watch this.
May 21, 2013
Sick, twisted, perverse, bizarre, yet compulsively fascinating. I don't know what to say.
December 9, 2011
love it or hate it. A typical Sion Sono movie.
October 8, 2011
'Guilty of love' or Guilty of Romance? One sounds rather better than the other, more mysterious. (Less accurate?)

The starting voiceover sounded as though details being given about district with the greatest concentration of love-hotels were in spite of boredom ('romance-hotels' doesn't sound quite right - and 'love', anyway, is a poor euphemism), but maybe it was just meant to sound a matter-of-fact tone, perhaps as a bid (they did regularly crop up, not usually successfully) to wrong-foot the viewer.

Maybe, having left only 70 minutes in, I am not in a position to judge, but this film just seemed like a whodunnit, and a not particularly interesting one (except for students of mutilation), but one with (attempts at) embellishments. Attempted, because the Effi Briest, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata sort of neglected wife with a boorish husband (and / or otherwise unhappy marriage) was only one sort of springboard into this 'adventure' for Mitzuko, and it was neither followed up, nor very convincing (e.g. the absence of her pre-existing life, except when - exceptionally awkwardly - some friends are produced and invited around for tea).

The stupid husband seemed, from what I could judge from the subtitles, to be a celebrated writer, but actually, despite his airs, of Mills & Boon (perhaps where the romance comes in?), or maybe Alan Titchmarsh. (By contrast, Sleeping Beauty did not need an such excuse, and went straight in, not even via touting hot sausages in a supermarket, but with a proper waitressing job that was not enough to finance university and lifestyle.)

Then, along with that Australian film, we move off into the territory of Buñuel's Belle de Jour (frankly more challenging, after all these years (1967), than either), but only as a build-up for sexual liberation generally and, specifically, a cheap laugh about how doing a porno-shoot with a stud makes one better at offering hot sausages enthusiastically (those scenes, in themselves, were surely a surprise to no one, least of all Mitzuko).

And that leads us into the domain (no going back) of casual sex, dressing differently / seductively, and the love-hotels about which we were so carefully told before. After that, and an autopsy complete with maggots, a crime scene with violently coloured pink paint, and a sex-scene in a show with the odd paint capsule thrown in, does one care much about where it is going or, more importantly, how it is going there?

Well, I didn't, but I cared even less to hear what I am fairly sure was Wagner's Siegfried Idyll and Bach's works for cello accompany all this, and that, apart from not being interested in how it unfolded, was my main impulse for leaving. (Perhaps the incongruity would have been less for those who were unfamiliar with this, even so, admittedly well-known music, perhaps not, but it turned the switch to 'off' for me.)

Or was this really an attack on the culural imperialism and globalism of the western world, disguised as a film? Certainly, there was little evidence of the restaurant and retail chains that dominate most cities. Certainly, we were being shown a culture particular to Japan in the love-hotel. Certainly, the western music of the baroque and the nineteenth century was being challenged to stand up against the most graphically demanding of bedfellows (and thereby proved that Bach is not, after all, strong enough to survive any treatment, even if that of Jacques Loussier were not enough to demonstrate otherwise), so maybe...

Still don't care!
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