Sion Sono's Love Exposure (Ai no mukidashi) (2008) is getting its first American run starting this Friday, May 13th, until Thursday May 19th at The Cinefamily. Each day (except Monday) will have a screening at 7:30 PM and a special early screening at 2:30 PM on Saturday.
I remember it played at The Cinefamily in November of 2009, but I always get reluctant of seeing a film that's more that three hours. Running at 237 minutes (!), the film seems to be over the map and takes a stab at family, religion, Japanese cinema and sex. Surprisingly, all accounts mention that the film manages to keep it all under control and ends up being a lot more entertaining than its art house origins may lead on. The Cinefamily is making a very big deal about the run and so I put my faith in them and hope their grand statements about the film isn't just pure hyperbole!
I'll definitely be going this week and plan on ordering two tickets for a screening. From Sion Sono, I've only seen Suicide Club (Jisatsu Sākuru) (2002) which left me lukewarm, but I'm very much interested Love Exposure which seems to be an awful lot of fun (plus anything with a Meiko Kaji reference will grab my attention!).
For those who don't live in Los Angeles, the always excellent Third Window Films released a region 2 DVD of Love Exposure early last year. Amazon UK is selling it brand new new for only £5.99 (about $11).
Here's the brief synopsis The Cinefamily put up:
""Japan's eroto-theosophical answer to the allegorical journeys of Alejandro Jodorowsky" -- Film Four
"It’s too bad words like 'masterpiece' and 'epic' have been so overused by excitable film critics, because Sion Sono’s Love Exposure is an actual epic masterpiece that is going to dominate the filmscape for decades." - New York Asian Film Festival
Ask yourself this question: when was the last time a movie really mattered to you, and shattered your world? Every so often, a film comes screaming out of the ether that magically reveals a larger truth about this thing we stumble through called life, and the latest cinematic salve is the unforgettable, uncategorizable, unmissable Love Exposure, the brand-new behemoth from Sion Sono (Suicide Club, Strange Circus) that gleefully tackles life's biggest issues: love, death, sex, revenge, religion and up-skirt panty photography. Winner of festival awards across the globe, and breaker of art house attendance records in Japan, Love Exposure has only been seen in the U.S. at a handful of sell-out screenings, with its initially daunting 237 minutes leaving audiences desperate for another installment. Purportedly based on the life of one Sono's friends, the film tells the epic story of Yu, a teenager who loses his Catholic faith when his mother dies and his bible-thumping priest father demands that the innocent boy confess to sins that he hasn't committed. As he manufactures sins to keep his father pleased, Yu trains in the 'art' of panchira (clandestine panty snapshots!), and all bets are off when he crosses paths with Yoko, the woman of his dreams (his "Virgin Mary"), at a streetfight. As he pursues his heart, Yu finds himself tripped up by apocalyptic religious cults, Catholic guilt and the call of pornography -- and must use his love to fight his way out of darkness. The Cinefamily is proud to present one of the top Japanese films of the few years -- if not the last decade!
Dir. Sion Sono, 2008, HDCAM, 237 min."
Don't forget the trailer:
(Uploaded onto YouTube by user Japan Society NYC)