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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Ai no mukidashi" )

 

directed by Sion Sono
Japan 2008

After his devout wife dies suddenly, distraught Tetsu (Atsurô Watabe, Takashi Miike's segment of THREE EXTREMES) converts to Christianity and becomes a priest. Over the years he becomes a pillar of the community, only to meet the batty Kaori (Makiko Watanabe, WHITE NIGHT), who falls in lust with him as he converts her to Christianity. They move to a private love nest away from the church, but things eventually go downhill when he won't marry her and she leaves him for a younger lover. Tetsu's personality changes and he becomes obsessed with sin, and deflects it onto his son Yu (Takahiro Nishijima, SOUP OPERA); however, Yu has also been greatly affected by his mother who - on her deathbed - told him to introduce her to his "Maria" (as in personification of the Virgin Mary), and he has grown up devoid of sin (and erections!). Eager to please his distant father, Yu becomes hyper-aware of any sins he may be committing and confesses them. When shaking his umbrella off inside a restaurant and not giving up his seat on the bus to a pregnant woman don't cut it, Tetsu gives up on his son and returns to the church. Rejected by his father, Yu falls in with pals Yuji (Yutaka Shimizu), Takahiro (Hiroyuki Onoue), and Senpai (Tasuku Nagaoka) from whom he learns to fight and shoplift. He takes these confessions to his father at the church; but they are still not enough to garner anything beyond forgiveness, but his friends intrigue him with the unfamiliar concept of "perversion." They take him to Master Lloyd (Hiroshi Ôguchi, Sono's STRANGE CIRCUS) - who philosophizes a bit like Tinto Brass while looking a bit like Jose Mojica Marins - who instructs him that anything he seeks "can be found in the groin," and schools Yu in the art of Tosatsu ("photo voyeurism") employing Kung-fu techniques to steal shots under women's skirts. Yu becomes a master of the art and Yuji, Takashro, and Senpai his followers (disciples?). Yu's confessions to his father horrify the man enough to step out of his role as confessor and punish him as a father. Things take a turn when Yu crosses paths with Koike (Sakura Andô), recruiter and cocaine runner for the Zero Church cult who is gifted with detecting original sin. From then on, she starts to infiltrate his life with the goal of gaining more followers into the brainwashing church by converting the Catholic priest father and his son, crowned "Prince of Perverts." When Kaori returns to Tetsu, she brings along Yoko (Hikari Mitsushima, EXTE: HAIR EXTENSIONS) - the runaway daughter of her last lover - who thinks all men are scum except for Kurt Cobain and Jesus. Having lost a bet with his friends over who has the best panty photo of the week, Yu must dress up in Takashiro's sister's clothes in public and kiss a girl. This places him in the position to rescue Yoko from a crowd of street thugs (hired by Koike); however, Yoko is a man-hating Black Belt who can take care of herself. Nevertheless, Yu - as "Miss Scorpion" - joins in the fray and helps her out. Yu realizes that Yoko is his Maria when the wind blows her skirt up and he achieves his first erection; however, Yoko finds herself falling in love with "Miss Scorpion" and won't give Yu the time of day when they wind up in the same high school class. Yu decides to go on posing as "Miss Scorpion" while trying to find a way to reveal his true identity to Yoko, who believes her love for another woman is a perversion (although Yu as "Miss Scorpion" has advised her that "all perverts are created equal"). Things get worse when Testu and Kaori decide to marry, which means Yu and Yoko will be living in close quarters and will be virtual siblings. Koike escalates matters by appearing in class as a new student and revealing herself to be "Miss Scorpion" when some more hired thugs invade the classroom. Koike and Yoko start spending time together and she ingratiates herself into the family and turns them against Yu by revealing his perversions. Yu runs away to his friends and Koike manipulates the shattered family into joining the Zero Church to start afresh. Koike tells Yu that he will only see Yoko again if he does her bidding, which includes employing his voyeuristic talents for a porn company, where he is crowned "King of Perverts" and then "Priest of Perverts." When the Catholic church is reluctant to help a pornographer rescue his family from the Zero Church, Yu and his friends abduct Yoko and try to deprogram her. When they are captured by the Zero Church, Yu must pretend to go along with the training in order to infiltrate it (with the help of "Miss Scorpion" and one of his pervert confessors with a bomb fetish).

Although epic in length at three minutes shy of four hours (Yu's story is the prologue and it runs exactly one hour - before the film's title card finally comes up!), Sion Sono's LOVE EXPOSURE is strangely intimate in scale with three intertwining perspectives overlapping action in a story that could have easily formed three different shorter feature films. The running time goes by fast as Sono seamlessly moves from melodrama to utter hilarity to Tarentino-esque violence (including Koike's backstory which seems like something suited to a KILL BILL villain) to tragic drama to a poignant close. Despite some outrageous bloodshed and various perversions, shock value seems to be the least of Sono's concerns; however, the impressive three-and-a-half hour build-up of this absurd story leads to a somewhat hasty and episodic resolution in the last half-hour. Although quite entertaining, the film should probably not be approached as one's introduction to Sion Sono (try SUICIDE CLUB or COLD FISH).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 31 January 2009 (Japan)

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Comparison: 

Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 3:56:43 3:56:33.470
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,035,660,450 bytes

Feature: 40,851,099,648 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo Dolby TrueHD Audio Japanese 669 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 669 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround)
Subtitles English (burnt-in) English (burned-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: December 20th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio: - 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,035,660,450 bytes

Feature: 40,851,099,648 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• none

Blu-ray Release Date: September 14th, 201
2
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 12': Sure, there is an upgrade for this quirky, amusing Japanese film via 1080P. The digital video can look incredible via Blu-ray - and there are quite a few examples in the 4-hour film to impress, and the upgrade should be primarily considered because of the length of the film and the limitations of such on a dual-layered DVD. There is lossless sound - albeit minimally impacting despite the wonderful classically-based pieces that sound very serene. The subtitles remain burned-in (as per the received source) and there are no extras. There are important themes of desire, family, religion and bizarre ones like the art of 'upskirt' photography. It's a pretty cool film that I can see watching again. Obviously, if you have the choice - get the Blu-ray and serious fans of the film may consider the upgrade. Either way this is recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Olive Films have presented the four-hour LOVE EXPOSURE as a dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic, bare-bones transfer. Given the running time, the bitrate could not be higher without spreading the film on to two discs, but I am uncertain as to how much of the digital video softness is intentional. The smallish English subtitles have been burnt-in to the film, but they are free of errors (the dialogue flows rapidly, however, and may require some rewinding and pausing). Only twelve chapters are provided for the four hour film.

The UK release spreads the film over two discs and features an hour-long documentary; however it may be an NTSC-PAL transfer since the running time is comparable to Olive Films edition. The Japanese edition is a three-disc set with extras; however, it is probably not English-friendly.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


Menus

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


More Blu-ray Captures

Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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