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Love Exposure

Posted by martinteller on December 24, 2011

A freewheeling, four-hour epic saga of teenage crushes, Christianity, upskirt photos, double identities, shady cults and perversion.  Director Sion Sono gives himself free rein to shift gears at the drop of a hat, and amazingly it doesn’t end up an incoherent mess.  In fact, somehow the more ridiculous it gets, the more you start to take it seriously.  There’s an awful lot of thematic ground covered here, but for me it felt particularly successful as a story of adolescent self-discovery.  Yu and Yoko cycle through various roles that their social structures, institutions and backgrounds have set up for them before they “find themselves” in a finale that in itself may be yet another false construct.  The film’s Christian angles are a little tougher to get a hold on, but ultimately I feel Sono’s stance is satirical (rightfully so) regarding the hypocrisy of organized religion while not completely writing off the possibility of a fulfilling spiritual life.  The sexual content has an unusual complexity to it as well.  I am a little concerned about the casual treatment of Yoko’s lesbianism (which I can’t get into without spoiling) but I suppose that’s usually going to be an issue when you have a male writer/director tackling the subject. 

Despite the hefty length, the movie is never dull, mixing up styles and tones in a way that keeps you wondering what will happen next.  Comedy and action and melodrama bleed together effortlessly (it’s something the Japanese tend to do rather well) and no matter how wacky the proceedings become, there’s a sincerity and heartfeltness to it.  I liked the use of music, especially the “Bolero” in the first chapter, building up to the “miracle” that smashes our heroes together.  The performances are all fine… I don’t know if I was particularly impressed with any of them, but they seemed to fit.

Overall, I thought it was fantastic, complex and very entertaining.  A bit like Jodorowsky, but more enjoyable.  Rating: Great

IMDb
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