Funeral Parade of Roses (1970)
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Critic Reviews for Funeral Parade of Roses
Audience Reviews for Funeral Parade of Roses
Matsumoto throws everything but the kitchen sink at the audience and works wonders with this wildly ahead-of-its-time film.
"Funeral Parade of Roses" has extra notoriety because its use of depraved, sped-up footage apparently inspired a similar "A Clockwork Orange" sex scene. But if this is your reason for seeing the movie, don't bother. You won't find the resemblance too striking. This Japanese film is not easy to watch, but its radical style will be familiar to Nagisa Oshima fans. Director Toshio Matsumoto throws in every jagged, disorienting trick he can manage, including jump cuts, flashbacks, captions, repeated scenes, dialogue with cartoon bubbles, an avant-garde score (murky variations on the children's song "Did You Ever See a Lassie?"), shots of the camera crew, bizarre inserted imagery (a flower stuck in a nude man's behind is a particular favorite) and cast interviews. Even the film's title is perversely withheld until 18 minutes have passed. There is not much story -- what's more important is the experimental filmmaking and the prominence of real-life transvestites. The homosexual love-triangle plot finds drag queens Eddie and Leda (both first-time actors) competing for the affections of club-owner Gonda (Yoshio Tsuchiya). The charismatic, unusually "attractive" Eddie is also nagged by traumatic childhood memories. But most of the screen time just depicts incidental behavior such as sex play, dancing, fighting, marijuana use, political protest and carousing in bars. This lack of narrative momentum can be wearying, but the shocking climax is a significant compensation.
What if writing novelties of say...Proust or Xingjian were to be translated as a neon mural of experimental musical compositions...add some Oedipal symbols,disjointed time-frames,oh..and vertical motives of multi-sexuality! There you have it,a "blow-up" of docu-confession,Matsumoto's personal ode to youth,highlighting an era of wine and roses (or if you like: opium and proses)
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