Anti-Porno is another mind-bender by prolific Japanese cult cinema director Sion Sono. The North American premiere had a sold out seating of intrigued moviegoers. Some liked it including myself and my Japanese-Canadian friend who speaks fluent Japanese and other utterly disliked this bizarre piece of cinema. Understandably, this is not for everybody and is definitely in the sexually charged vein of Strange Circus (2005) and Guilty Romance (2011) realm rather than palatable post-apocalyptic dramas like Himizu (2011) or Land of Hope (2012).
Sono is an artist and has one the most disparate notions of time for his movies with his two best, Cold Fish (2010) and Noriko's Dinner Table (2005), clocking around 150-160 mins, but Love Exposure (2008) rambling on at 240 mins, while Tag (2015) ticked by in 85 mins. The Whispering Star (2015) is only 100 mins but feels like years with sparse dialogue and landscapes, long slow takes and black & white interplanetary postal robot mood. Anti- Porno is his shortest here at 78 mins but packs a lot of tricks in a tight vision of lust and lost.
The movie starts with cute clichés and colourful art direction concerning sex and seduction in an S&M and bisexual tension kind of way. Add a toilet, a toy, other girls as audience / participants, a taunt and a twist!
Ami Tomite who also started in Sono's Tag (2015) and The Virgin Psychics (2015) plays the lead and seductress self-proclaimed whore. She is a superstar and has her assistant prepare her packed daily schedule, including a photo-shoot, but verbal abuse, nudity, submission, sex, slicing of wrists and depravity ensue. Take a photo-shoot and video of all this
Then comes the role reversal and question of identity. Who is shooting who and playing who? Who is directing? Who is writing? Who is shooting a sex scene in the woods or in a room? Who is a whore and a virgin? How to emancipate ourselves? What is sex and what does it say about society and individuals?
This film raises many questions, is a welcome criticism of sex as a taboo and explores Japanese sexual repression and oppression specifically, but touches on worldly and beautiful themes with a mature, daring tone. The conversation of teenage girls and their parents at dinner table is priceless and unheard of. A necessary discussion of equals that makes you think while shocking your preconceived ideas about sex and parenting, even if you are a liberal!
Thank you Sono for again pushing the boundaries.
Lots of beauty and thoughts in this seemingly absurd and self- absorbed subtle sexual and mental exploration.
Japan 2016| 78 min | Festival du Nouveau Cinema | Japanese (English subtitles)
Young artist Kyoko (Ami Tomite) wreaks havoc on everyone that she encounters, her worst being reserved for simpering older assistant Noriko (Mariko Trutsui), whom she routinely humiliates-or at least that's what seems to be happening, before an abrupt about-face. Outrageous rabble-rouser Sono's contribution to the Roman Porno redux series contains plenty of sex, but is also a fourth-wall breaking, experimental study of feminine agency set against outlandish, eye-popping backdrops.
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June 24, 2018 at 03:21 AM