FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES
Director: Toshio Matsumoto Run Time: 105 min. Release Year: 1969 Language: Japanese
Starring: Emiko Azuma, Osamu Ogasawara, Pîtâ, Yoshihiro Katô, Yoshio Tsuchiya
Director Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter (from Kurosawa’s Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick/Warhol superstar-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet — where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) for the attentions of club owner Gonda (played by Kurosawa regular Yoshio Tsuchiya, from Seven Samuri and Yojimbo). One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time here like Resnais in Last Year at Marienbad, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons, into a dizzying whirl of image + sound.