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Love Exposure

Canadian Premiere

  • Japan 2008
  • 237 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
WINNER: Caligari Film Award, Berlin International Film Festival 2009
WINNER: Fipresci Prize, Berlin International Film Festival 2009
WINNER: Grand Jury Prize, New York Asian Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2009

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"A masterpiece... Sono pulls porn up from the gutter, and religion down from the heavens until the two meet and the most debased and the most divine become mirror images of each other" — NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL


Director: Sion Sono
Screenplay: Sion Sono
Cast: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Atsuro Watabe, Makiko Watanabe
Producers: Toyoyuki Yokohama, Shinya Kawai
Distributor: Phantom Film

Part of...

Flirting with Chaos   

Flirting with Chaos


Lick the stains of divinity and prepare to witness miracles because Sion Sono (SUICIDE CLUB, EXTE) has returned with his most inspired work to date: a four-hour odyssey of love and hysteria, perversion and poignancy, sacrilege and chaos!

As the son of a well-respected priest, 17-year-old Yu (Takahiro Nishijima) has it tough. Among other peculiarities, his father forces him to confess his sins nightly. Trouble is, Yu hasn’t got much in the way of sinning to talk about. Dad doesn’t believe him. He MUST have sinned during the day. To placate his father, Yu starts going out of his way to sin in order to have properly deviant things to confess. He joins forces with a gang of perverts and begins training under the tutelage of a sort of Mister Miyagi of decadence. Their motto is “all perverts are created equal,” but Yu proves that this is clearly untrue. Nobody makes a better pervert than Yu! Trouble is, deep down, he’s not satisfied: the idea of sin is far more stimulating than the acts themselves, and Yu desperately wants to find true love. His very own Virgin Mary. And soon enough, he does! She comes in the form of Yoko (Hikari Mitsushima), and Yu is liquefied, attracted to her flawed innocence, enthralled by the very smell of her original sin. Trouble is, Yoko hates men. Violently. Actually, that’s the least of Yu’s troubles with Yoko. And we’ve already said too much!

Supercharged with good vibes and bad ones, Sono’s unconventional ode to the agonies of love is a thermonuclear assault. Our synopsis barely scratches the surface of where LOVE EXPOSURE goes, but rest assured that it involves incest, drag, kung-fu style voyeur street photography, the meanest girl gang of them all and a nefarious religious cult known as the Zero Church. It juggles seemingly disparate elements brilliantly, with the flair and control that only a master like Sono could pull off. Explosive violence can erupt as easily as a screwball sight gag or a tender moment of adoration. Religion is obliterated with the subversive wit of an Eastern Buñuel. A recent screening at the Berlin Film Festival landed two prestigious awards and laid waste to a legion of flabbergasted viewers who are probably still trying to understand how they feel about it! A fetishistic social satire, a sweet-faced love story and a ferocious anti-establishment manifesto that jumps from comic-book kookiness to heartfelt severity in the blink of a tearing eye, LOVE EXPOSURE is a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in eccentric cinema.

—Mitch Davis

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