By Fares Akhaoui
The best film you’ve probably never seen or heard of
This is an insane movie. It contains sexually suggestive themes and images, disturbing but over the top imagery, a lot of violence and is 4 hours long.
If you’re sensitive to anything that was listed do not watch it. (I’m serious I can only see very few people actually enjoying this)
Love Exposure is a film that is not talked about too much outside of its native country of Japan. Sion Sono is a filmmaker known for making films that are so absurd, audiences can’t really relate to them, he’s created cult classics like “Tag”, “Why Don’t You Play In Hell” and “Tokyo Tribe”. 2008’s Love Exposure however is an epic, with 4 hours in length and one of the most ridiculously convoluted plots ever put on the cinema screen, but somehow it works.
A simplified plot synopsis would probably sound like this. Yû is a high schooler in japan and his widowed father is a priest. His father meets another woman and begins having a very intimate relationship with her and when she leaves him his father begins to become distant and more commanding. One day when Yû goes to confession his father asks him to tell him how he’s sinned this week and he doesn’t know, so Yû begins to commit sins just to make his father talk to him. These start small like not helping an old lady cross the road or stepping on ants but he eventually realises that the one thing the church hates the most is anything sexual. That’s where I’ll leave it, saying any more would completely spoil the insanity that is this film.
The length may sound off putting, 4 hours is a very long time but it moves at an insane pace and the characters are all slowly developed throughout which really adds something that no other film of this length could. This also needs to be seen in one sitting or you might miss something, it is that jam packed with information.
Some people have described Love Exposure as “trash of the highest order”. It could be viewed that way but I feel like it is much much more than that, it’s satire in the purest way possible. It pokes fun at religion, growing up and many other things that would take too long to list here. The entire film is a big parody of everything and that’s why it works, so many things that are happening on the screen are societally wrong that the audience just seems to be desensitised to it by the end of the film. Sion Sono has created a sort of Anti-love story here, where things don’t end the way they should and instead end up in a way the audience or characters would never predict. I highly recommend this. Even though it may not be for everyone I feel like if you’re interested in foreign films or are curious about what cinema can do as a medium Love Exposure is essential.