Tokyo Tribe

Japanese cult filmmaker Sion Sono (Suicide Club, Love Exposure) once cited as his primary influences John Cassavetes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and 80s splatter movies, and many of his films play like a fusion of those three elements. Like Cassavetes, Sono elicits bold, expressive performances from his actors to depict characters at emotional extremes; he also favors jittery, handheld-camera work that gives his films a sense of wild spontaneity. Like Fassbinder, Sono is a social critic whose characters tend to be outcasts and people desperate for love, and a remarkably prolific artist whose quickly and cheaply made movies (about 20 in the last decade) exude a rousing punk bravado. The influence of splatter films is the most obvious, though. Sono’s movies are filled with depraved sex and violence, often depicted in stomach-churning detail. The gruesome content can distract from Sono’s impressive formal ambition (he often structures his films like postmodern novels, with different passages presented from different characters’ perspectives), not to mention his bold juxtapositions of high and low culture. Continue reading >>