Himizu

Sion Sono‘s work is not for everyone, but it should be. The writer/director explores themes of family, modern social trends and violence better than almost anyone, and with films like Cold Fish, Suicide Club and Noriko’s Dinner Table under his belt, it’s shocking that each new work doesn’t automatically receive the Blu carpet treatment automatically. Sadly, that’s not the case, but happily, a grand injustice is being rectified. According to Twitch, Sono’s four-hour-long exploration of young love, cults, faith, family (of course), and upskirt photography is finally coming to Blu-ray in August. Love Exposure focuses on a young man whose father is a priest obsessed with getting his son to repent, but without any real sins, Yu begins sinning just to have something to report back. His main sin is flashing his camera under the skirts of girls in the city, and his misadventure leads to encounters with a young woman stalking him, a strange religion trying to recruit his family, and a girl he falls in love with while in drag (and naturally has to continue pretending to be a woman in order to date).

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Sion Sono is the genius who made two hours seem like weeks in Suicide Club but managed to make four hours fly by in Love Exposure. A couple of years ago, Noriko’s Dinner Table probably stood as his finest work, but Cold Fish far surpassed it with its testicular exploration of violence, family and loss of humanity. Plus, his latest work, Himizu – which focuses on two teenagers who take to fighting crime in a world post-tsunami – is getting high acclaim as well thanks to the Venice Film Festival. According to The Hollywood Reporter, his next move is to make a movie born out of the tragic Japanese earthquake of 2011 and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear fallout that came after, although the events will be fictionalized. Land of Hope will focus on a pregnant couple (Jun Murakami and Megumi Kagurazaka) who have to escape their farm because of an earthquake and nuclear plant accident. A few months after the earthquake in 2011, Japanese filmmaking icon Takashi Miike stated that, “I’m sure we will see, for example the kids that have grown up in this situation, the sort of wounds they have from the situation, we’ll definitely have to see it to some effect in our movies.” Sion Sono may not be a kid, but he’s a stellar force for telling this kind of story. In fact,there are few directors as tuned into stories that alter and challenge interpersonal relationships. Any news of a new film from him is celebratory […]

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Considering how much I like striped shirts, pasta, and films from controversial Greek directors, it looks like I may need to stow away in someone’s suitcase and get over to Italy next month for the 68th Venice Film Festival. The fest, which runs from August 31 to September 10, has just released their lineup for the year, and I may be speaking out of my macaroni here, but this batch of films really wets my noodle. Nathan already reported last month that George Clooney’s The Ides of March was likely to join the festival, and today’s announcement confirms that twofold – Ides will not only show at the festival, it will serve as opening night film. Other good stuff here includes Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which has one of my favorite trailers of the year), Roman Polanski’s adaptation of play God of Carnage (shortened to Carnage), Ami Canaan Mann’s Texas Killing Fields, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Madonna’s W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps. In short terms, this is an incredible lineup of films that I cannot even remotely snark on, because I would probably do something violent if it meant I could go to the festival. Check out the full list of films after the break.

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