Love Exposure

Love Exposure ★★★★½

Horny Catholic movies are wild, Japanese horny Catholic movies are the wildest.

“Love Exposure” is a one-of-a-kind epic and widely regarded as Sion Sono´s magnum opus. My Blu-Ray cover calls it a “romance-splatter-porn-kung fu-comedy-drama”, which gives you an idea how crazy this movie is. Though as zany and over the top as it is, I wouldn´t even call it Sono´s weirdest film. I certainly don´t find it weirder than “Antiporno” or “Tag”. Yet it clearly is the most Sion Sono you can put into a single film, as it tackles every topic the provocative cult director is interested in, such as love, sex, family, Japanese society, morality, repression, hypocrisy, feminism, coming of age, individualism, violence, and religion. This film is what happens, when you give an eccentric auteur complete creative freedom. Love it or hate it but you probably haven´t seen anything like it before.

“Love Exposure” features a brilliantly structured plot full of twists and genre shifts, quirky memorable characters, bizarre imagery, experimental cinematography and editing, and catchy music. Thanks to its frenetic energy, stylish flair, and never-ending creativity, the 4 hours runtime fly by like nothing. The film masterfully blends biting satire, subversive commentary, absurdist humor, exaggerated violence, moving pathos, and genuine romance. It´s an empathetic movie about and for outsiders, weirdos, and perverts, and in its own very idiosyncratic way, it captures how confusing it is to grow up and find your place in the world. You might not see it at first, but there is a beating heart underneath all the provocation and insanity, which is why the movie leaves such a strong and lasting impression.

“Love Exposure” is dazzling, audacious, hilarious, poetic, imaginative, and emotionally rewarding. I was constantly entertained but even more than that I respect the film for its boldness, scale, and ambition. It´s awe-inspiring that such a movie could have been made in the first place. Only a Japanese film studio would greenlight something like this, and we shouldn´t take this support for experimental cinema for granted.

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