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A grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo - a love hotel district - a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment. Kazuko (Miki Mizuno) is a police officer called to investigate on this case, she will discover the story of two women who, despite appearing respectable on the outside have all manner of darkness hidden away. Written by
This is just TYPICAL SONO. Over 2 hrs, that's A MUST with him lol (the director, Sion Sono), and not a problem, just something that either seems to happen because sooo much is going on, or he intentionally makes it that long to be seen as unique in style and vision. Well whatever then.
Either way this is my favourite film by him. First is this, then Cold Fish, then Suicide Club 1, then Play in Hell, then Love Exposure, then Suicide Club 2, then Strange effing Circus, eugh lol (strange indeed and just...ugh. It was ugly looking, lacking and disconcerting. Not sure about the point there AT ALL but I'm sure anyone with a way of words can explain anything).
Well anyway, this film made me cry. Not because I sought out a certain kind of film during a time of mental boredom and emotional fatigue after chronically intermittent downward spirals. And it just drains my head and heart afterward. I end up feeling dead inside and so I need stimulation, fast. I was tired of mundane stuff. I've no idea how I came to find Sono's work but at the time it hit the spot that wasn't getting hit, ever. "Guilty of Romance" might be a top favourite film on my expanding list.
Thankfully it wasn't so disturbing by the time I got to it. Maybe if I were more prudent or had a virgin mind and eyes I would be more terrified like I'm probably meant to be after watching what probably is something so disturbing. But I don't see it that way; it's comforting in its depravity. Because it's all too real.
What's sad is the character played by Sono's real life wife. She's lonely, untouched, and insecurely obsequious/subservient. She does everything meticulously for her husband. Not herself and no one else. Sono normally introduces every character for like an hour separate lol with "chapters" but here you still have no effing clue how the wife ended up here, from what I recall after a couple rewatches. Like who her family are, where they are, where she's from. It seems to be an unspoken (or culturally context) arranged marriage/"omiai" in Japan. Because I don't see the love that brought them together!
She IS guilty of romance. She wanted it badly and so badly that she later was so confused enough to be talked OUT of wanting it. It was too much of a burden to seek so she gave up on it, almost maniacally so. I still am not sure about the "whodunnit" in this film, like the who-killed-who factor. It would've been SO great with JUST the wife's story, being alone, getting naively tangled into the sex industry, infidelity; her loss of status, loss of self, loss of love and the mind, (all the things she desperately sought out) after meeting the hooker who somehow inspired her (this hooker is someone who crawled out of the dark side of feminism if not misandry altogether, or just utter insanity lol. I absolutely HATED that woman and her character, and the actress. All of it just put me off. Not the sex scenes, not the anger, just...her. She was...well...unattractive lol But whatever.)
I get her story, afterall it took an hour to clear it up. She basically has a very creepy traditional mother, and a double life herself as a prestigious lecturer and hooker. This probably shows her self conflict of fulfilling expectations and then saying to hell with them. It's a strange conflict; I'm sure most people might at least have sex or do kinky things for pleasure out of the job, but her strolling around at night assertively telling men to have sex with her when she's a professor is albeit weird to say the least lol And why this attracts the wife to this lifestyle, no clue, but that also indicates how lost and alone she is.
The plot twist was good, didn't see it coming, betrayals everywhere. Madness in all these fools and creeps to be honest. And it drove the wife to have to accept the path she followed behind the hooker. What's so heartbreaking for me is that in the end, she had to do it alone, undeservedly. She was gleeful in what I think is denial and just plain gullibility that this secret life would eventually find her satisfaction, and would spark passion and romance in if not her marriage then her life. That's how she is guilty. Sono is probably saying she was gullible to think that road she chose would lead anywhere like that, but luckily it seems this kind of downfall is not normal, that a certain type of person would descend this way. A person desperately seeking the "Castle," obviously a metaphor in this film for stability and happiness. Apparently based on some Russian or German or something story, which Sono likes to do as well.
There's also something in here, and I'm not sure if it's an original piece of Sono's promoting his own poetry here, but it was something thematic in the film about not crying. And this was recited by the hooker. She damn near preached it. Not to cry, but to do. This also ties in with Buddhism which Sono might be. That sorrow is selfish. And this could've driven the wife to not wallow in dolor and self pity, but to do. Unfortunately what she did was stupidly wrong.
Does anyone care about the color, the soundtrack, scenery, wardrobe? Stuff like that, those elements that do help make the film? I'm sure there's a science to all of this, but the film wasn't ugly. Sono intentionally uses color here, all throughout the film. Not sure if it's symbolic; I'm not trying to impress anyone with this ready-at-hand-reach wheel of colors and their meanings. But aesthetically, the color was nice lol The other stuff: eh.
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