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Guilty Of Romance Reviews

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February 1, 2014
perturbant....mais un excellent cinéclub....

Super Reviewer

January 2, 2014
The overrated and lame William Friedkin should seriously take notes from these authentic shockfests before his time runs out, because Shion Sono's challenging wild rides are disturbingly bizarre roller-coasters with explosive directorial trademarks and sequences impossible to forget.

I said it in Cold Fish (2010) and I'll say it now: overall, Japanese cinema consists in stimula that cause cognitive dissonance, a psychological response that is unpredictable most of the times. This consists in setting a scenario and contrasting it with something seemingly contradictory, such as a beautiful score against a harrowing background, or splitting the entire product into two separate and different parts. The entire "Hate Trilogy" applied such technique with wonderful precision, and throughout, Sono learned how to develop characters and the situations in which they are placed, so that the gruesome paybacks could escalate tension slowly and mercilessly in an easier way.

On the other hand, the main differentiation between Sono and wanna-be disturbing directors like Friedkin is that he keeps the whole story engaging and interesting to look at; in this way, the entire second act acquires more meaning, and therefore, more shock value. What is so brilliant about Sono is that:

- He adds emotional depth to the story, so you'll need the time to avoid having a heart attack and, once that's done, then you can wrap your head around the final product.
- He uses extreme violence as a perfect complement for psychological horror , which is the main aim of his films. Directors fail because their aim is graphic violence. If there's no substance to behold in the background, it becomes meaningless and is degraded to mere forgettable entertainment.

My only concern with this mutant baby is that it places the murder story as a secondary plot device to unfold what actually is the descent to hell of a woman's morality. It lacks focus. Instead of splitting the movie into three parts, it was divided into two. I wouldn't have minded a three-hour film, given that he has proven himself to be talented (and crazy) enough to compile a 4-hour collage of pieces of contradictory madness. Still, the film offers enough content to asault the senses and enough substance to reflect on.

Based on a real-life murder case, Koi no tsumi is a rare movie to appreciate.

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.
September 7, 2013
One kinky sicko piece.
June 13, 2013
artsy stuff
May 21, 2013
Sick, twisted, perverse, bizarre, yet compulsively fascinating. I don't know what to say.
January 27, 2013
ora i mau..mau..makari i filmi noire..vuonu fari....mmah!!..
January 26, 2013
This movie is amazing. It describes 2 women in different stages of unfulfillment. The movie is grounded on the fact that perfect love is like a castle, surrounded by defenses and in many cases unattainable.

Izumi is a housewife who yearns for her husband's love. In the meantime, she settles for whatever semblance of love she can get: from appreciation for her execution of household chores, to satisfaction at successfully giving sausage samples at the supermarket, to random sex with strangers. As she looks for satisfaction in sex with strangers, she encounters a man/pimp who initially seems benign, but eventually scares her into acknowledging the conflict between her love for her husband and her need to cheat on him with others. Izumi is then introduced by the man to a more experienced hooker who she realizes can help her come to terms with herself.

The hooker is Mitsuko who recognizes Izumi as an earlier iteration of herself. Having been in love with her father, seduced him using his passion for literature, and lost him when he died, Mitsuko understands Izumi's hope for love and where that hope will eventually lead. To hasten Izumi to this realization, Mitsuko teaches Izumi that while searching for her true love/castle, she can have sex with others so long as she makes a distinction between love and lust by asking for money whenever she is having sex without love. Mitsuko then guides Izumi back to the pimp who integrates Izumi into his escort service.

On Izumi's first escort job, Mitsuko goes before Izumi to prime the man for Izumi. Mitsuko recognizes the man and stays to watch Izumi's reaction to having sex with her husband. Izumi finally realizes that her castle is unattainable, her husband will never truly love her as a woman. Just like Mitsuko's father, Izumi's husband never was and never will be able to love Izumi. Mitsuko drags Izumi back to her love apartment and tells Izumi that the only way to achieve true fulfillment, reach the unreachable castle, is probably through death. Mitsuko's mother, bitter at Mitsuko's monopoly of her father's love, happened to follow Mitsuko that afternoon and sees her chance. Mitsuko's mother convinces the pimp and Izumi that the only way for Mitsuko to be relieved of her pain is through death. Izumi kills Mitsuko while the pimp watches on. This might have been Mitsuko's plan all along-- to show someone else her pain in order to force that person to direct their anger at her and kill her.

Eventually, Izumi continues on where Mitsuko left off, having unabashed sex with everyone and acting with brash self confidence, aware that no one can hurt her as much as the realization that she will never achieve her true love has hurt her. The movie ends with a scene of her getting beaten for being too aggressive towards a customer and raises the question of whether she will meet the same end as Mitsuko-- purposely aggravating someone to the point that they kill her.
January 12, 2013
Very unusual and intriguing. Starts off incredibly well - edgy, very interesting, and doesn't give much away. The transformation of the author's wife is captivating, and has many lessons in liberty, self-will, individualism and their consequences.

However, the second act is confusing, drags on a bit and the plot not entirely water-tight. The conclusion is good and closes the loop well, though leaving room for a continuing moral.

Solid performances all round.
December 27, 2012
Si vous avez eu l'occasion de jeter un oeil à d'autres films du multi-polyvalent Sion Sono auparavant - même simplement 'Suicide club', ça suffira -, vous aurez pu remarquer que le monsieur ne se caractérise pas prioritairement par sa cohérence mais bien par une propension à partir dans "trop" de directions simultanément. Dans la vision du réalisateur, l'art ne peut souffrir d'aucune entrave ni se montrer élitiste, ce qui rend son travail généralement facile à appréhender et difficile à assimiler. Toujours présent lorsqu'il s'agit de régler ses comptes avec la société japonaise, Sion Sono s'en prend cette fois au machisme d'une société patriarcale qui baigne dans le sexe mais qui rechigne à accorder aux femmes le droit d'avoir une sexualité propre. Du moins, on le suppose car 'Guilty of romance' n'a rien des atours de l'oeuvre dramatique qui permettrait à tout autre que lui d'étayer sa démonstration. Rien que le parcours de cette honnête épouse, soumise comme la culture japonaise l'exige, qui tombe petit à petit dans la prostitution sous la houlette d'une mentor lettrée et schizophrène sème le doute : on ignore si ce que Sono nous montre doit être envisagé comme une revanche ou comme une déchéance, les concepts de domination et de pouvoir se retournant perpétuellement tout au long du film. 'Guilty of romance' est également traversé de ces multiples référence à la culture populaire nippone qui rendent les films de Sion Sono inclassables. A la fois polar et film érotique, atténuant la portée d'événements dramatiques par le recours à un humour noir et absurde, faisant cohabiter sans sourciller références littéraires à Kafka et meurtres gores, 'Guilty of romance', comme 'Suicide club' avant lui, s'impose comme un objet dont l'étrangeté suscite la fascination mais que son brassage de tendances parfois antinomiques rendront boursouflé et indigeste pour beaucoup.
October 22, 2012
An excellent movie from a man who is no stranger to controversy. Be it 54(was it 52?) school girls committing grisly mass suicide on the railway tracks of Shinjuku with there limbs flying in all directions(Suicide circle), a detailed autopsy of a decomposed woman's body (Hair extension), a guy who makes an art out of Panchira tosatsu (taking upskirt shots of women in skirts); Sono Shion has depicted nearly all if not darker but stranger aspects of humankind. This movie which is based on a real life incident (even though the actual murder was nowhere as ..well I am out of words here..lets just say it is scary and you have been warned!) is a continuation of Sono's journey into the deeper, darker side of mankind.

I like to compare him with David Cronenberg , another director who seems to be fascinated by human anatomy. The camera explores these in great detail at times in many of Sono's movies. Whether he is sensationalizing or not is a matter of individual taste, but for me this is top quality cinema that will throw you out of your chair at times.

Sensationalism apart, Sono's anger is indirectly related to the society that produces such 'aberrations'. One would never imagine a well educated, decent looking, woman next door to indulge in acts even the boldest of women would think twice before doing. Superb acting combined with great background music and an apt setting (Shibuya, Tokyo), this film will make your stomach churn at times but is a treat for genuine cinema lovers.

Who says that women are under-depicted in Japanese cinema? The three ladies in this two and a half hour movie turn in incredible and of course sexciting performances. These women have desires and they are out to fulfill them, better watch out guys!
September 27, 2012
Based partially on the murder of the TEPCO official who was moonlighting as a prostitute at night, Sono's ?????is also about a woman's sexual liberation, personal liberation, and the road downward to a very dark underworld. The third film in Sono's self proclaimed 'Hate Trilogy', it's a hard film to sit through at times. But that's from a man's point of view. "Guilty of Romance" seems to be more for a female audience but I don't know a lot of women who would want to go through such an experience.
September 4, 2012
Charming and confused.
July 8, 2012
In this installment Sion Sono mixes his trademark sex-gore-violence slash exploitation with poetry, artsy pink paintballs, and Kafka. The result? Too predictable.
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.
February 13, 2012
More sexual insanity and perversion in the final part of Sion Sono's "Hate" trilogy. A truly grotesque murder is investigated in between scenes of the mental decline and most splendid nudity of the sensationally breasted Megumi Kagurazaka. There's some beautiful poetry too. Japanese culture at its best.
scott g

Super Reviewer

February 8, 2012
Another twisted tale of sex and murder in the east and here Tokyo. a story of a housewife devoted to making her husband very happy by making the home and services perfect, although there is a problem, hes away all day and its sexless and void of emotion, and its here she decides to get out there, and working fiunds her wild side especially concerening sex, and eventually gets involved with very seedy charactors, the main perrformance is fantastic and crazy moments do kep it going, it is a bit long at times but overall very interesting.
January 23, 2012
While Guilty of Romance is not Sion Sono's best film, it is an endlessly fascinating examination of the depraved and often misunderstood world of prostitution. What is always fascinating about Sion Sono's films is that he loves playing with these moral expectations and manipulates them into something completely original that bucks the perceived expectations of the viewer. A strange and bizarre film, Sono uses this story of a shy housewife foray into depravity as a way to comment on the psychologically archetype of the female on both societal and primal levels. The films psychological study of the pure power of desire and humans ability and inability to contain or control it is really quite fascinating. Out of all of 'Guilty Romance' is his first to really focus on the female psyche and this film has some fascinating female characters. I could see how some people could find the film unfocused, but this is a raw filmmaker who has created a raw but detailed exploration into passion, love and desire even if it does go a little overboard at times.

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)
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