(aka 'Funeral Parade of Roses' or 'Bara no soretsu')

Directed by Toshio Matsumoto
Japan 1969

 

  A feverish collision of avant-garde aesthetics and grind-house shocks (not to mention a direct influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange), Funeral Parade of Roses takes us on an electrifying journey into the nether-regions of the late-'60s Tokyo underworld. In Toshio Matsumoto's controversial debut feature, seemingly nothing is taboo: neither the incorporation of visual flourishes straight from the worlds of contemporary graphic-design, painting, comic-books, and animation; nor the unflinching depiction of nudity, sex, drug-use, and public-toilets. But of all the "transgressions" here on display, perhaps one in particular stands out the most: the film's groundbreaking and unapologetic portrayal of Japanese gay subculture.

Cross-dressing club-kid Eddie (played by real-life transvestite entertainer extraordinaire Peter, famed for his role as Kyoami the Fool in Akira Kurosawa's Ran) vies with a rival drag-queen (Osamu Ogasawara) for the favours of drug-dealing cabaret-manager Gonda (Yoshio Tsuchiya, himself a Kurosawa player who appeared in such films as Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and High and Low). Passions escalate and blood begins to flow — before all tensions are released in a jolting climax that prefigures by nearly thirty years Tsai Ming-liang's similarly scandalous The River.

With its mixture of purely narrative sequences and documentary footage, Funeral Parade of Roses comes to us from a moment when cinema set itself to test, and even eradicate, the boundaries between fiction and reality, desire and experience; consequently, the film shares a kinship with such other 1969 works as Masahiro Shinoda's Double Suicide and Ingmar Bergman's A Passion [The Passion of Anna]. Yet Matsumoto achieves a zig-zag modulation between pathos and hilarity that makes his picture utterly unique: a filmic howl in the face of social, moral, and artistic convention. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade of Roses for the first time outside of Japan on any home video format.

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Theatrical Release: October, 1969

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DVD Review: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC

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Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - spine # 32 - Region 2 - NTSC
Runtime 1:44:40 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Transfer from the director's personal print
• Full length audio commentary by the director Toshio MATSUMOTO (in Japanese with English subtitles)
• Video interview with director Toshio MATSUMOTO (23 minutes)
Promotional material gallery
• Original trailer
• 36-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by Jim O'Rourke

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 17

 

 

Comments:

Stellar looking progressive transfer from Eureka Masters of Cinema on this rare, clandestine and taboo film. Remarkable that the feature and extras fit compactly on a single-layered disc. Contrast and sharpness are at premium levels. Audio is mono, but clear, consistent and all dialogue (quite minimalist in the film) audible. The print used is from the director's personal collection. 

There is an insightful audio commentary by the director (in Japanese with English subtitles) and a 20 minute interview. Matsumoto discusses some of the non-standard production methods and plot details, pacing and experimental tonal shifts used.  A 36-page liner notes booklet is another supplement featuring a new essay by Jim O'Rourke.

Overall this is another excellent DVD from MoC - the UK's Criterion equivalent.

NOTE: Although our captures omitted them - there are some graphic scenes in this film.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - spine # 32 - Region 2 - NTSC




 

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