NYAFF’s Love Exposure aka Ai no mukidashi

Happy 4th of July.. what a languid day. So what did I do yesterday?

love exposure

I went to the showing of Love Exposure at Japan Society, this is a four hour loooong film, that stars Nishijima Takahiro, Hikari Mitsushima, and Sakura Ando among others. There was a special Q&A session afterwards with the director, Shion Sono, plus a party. This is all part of the New York Asian Film Festival.

This is a film about a pure Japanese youth, Yu (Nishijima Takahiro) who strives to make his father/priest Tetsu, (Atsuro Watabe) acknowledge him after his father gets dumped by Saori (Makiko Watanabe). His father in his grief selfishly makes his son pay for his own woes by getting him to confess to any sin that he may commit. Because of wanting to gain approval, Yu begins a road on being a voyeur of female underwear photography shots. Of course this has repercussions, as he attracts the attention of a cult recruiter Koike (Sakura Ando).

The ironic part was that, before Yu’s mother died, she told him to introduce a woman like the Holy Virgin Mary to her when he meets her. His father eventually acknowledges him as a hentai. The climax of the film was when Yu meets the love of his life, Yoko. The rest of the film explores the consequences of him as a hentai, and how would he rescue Yoko from the clutches of a cult.

Lots of blood, sex,  and abuse in this crazy feature film. It was a well paced film, with development for most of the characters. I don’t believe I’ll sit through this movie again, but I would have to say this is a movie to go see at least once in your life.

There’s a Japanese flavor of confronting Roman Catholicism, and while this may offend devout believers, it is quite interesting how a Japanese film maker pokes fun at the organized religion.

In the special Q & A session afterwards, Shion Sono mentioned that he is not a church going person, but if there was a fan club for God, then he would join. The Q & A session was peppered with questions and impressions of the length of the movie and how much Roman Catholicism actually played in this film.

After the Q&A session was over, some points did stood out for me. I didn’t think of these questions to ask, but if there is ever a chance to, definitely these are probably points to think about.

  • Why did the director made the back stories of the two female leads in this film to have such twisted background? It did provide some interesting lesbian scenes, but was there any other reason?
  • By the middle of the movie though, Tetsu’s character became so bland that I thought his character was quite a waste by the end of the film.
  • What was the purpose of the cult’s leader who was portrayed by Usamaru Furuya? Was there a point to the Zero Church?

This is the trailer to the film.

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  • http://hynavian.com Hynavian

    The trailer is disturbing and confusing. There are yakuza-like fights, characters wielding samurai swords in the 21th century, and an underwear hentai photographer in a strange coat? Meh, I highly doubt that I’ll get to catch this movie in Singapore (it won’t be able to pass my country’s stringent censorship) but I’ll try searching to give this one a try.

  • Marysa

    Hey there!
    I was at the showing the same day as you! (^^) Loved the movie. I think it’s likely that Sono Sion made the two female characters have the former lifestyles they had in order to show WHY they hate men. As you may recall, both characters despise males (Yoko likes to beat them up and Aya Koike…well…we know what she does, haha). Anyway, I think it makes more sense for them to have had such a abusive and twisted back stories in order to explain their later actions and motives in the film.

    Remember, both characters seem to think all guys are alike, and then later on in the movie, both Yoko and Koike seem to realize that Yu is an exception (despite being a “hentai”.

    Hope that helps! Thanks for the review–it was cute. ^^

  • http://animemiz.wordpress.com/ miz

    @Hynavian Most likely, I felt that there was more action toward the end, everything else was just just shock outloud perverted things. Yakuza was not really a major part of the movie. Probably it can be found online, but don’t force yourself to watch the movie. I think even Kill Bill was more violent. ^_~

    @Marysa Yep, both females hated men, but just wondering if there would be equality for men. There was that part where Yu went and audition at that Porn studio and his friends following him to becoming hentai freaks, but don’t you think that there should be a more valid reason other than making them so 2-dimensional? Sure.. will very likely do a similar review for Written By and Cyborg She. Thanks for the comment! It was a packed out theater with a packed out after party. >^_^<

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