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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:52 pm 
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Funeral Parade of Roses

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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.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New transfer from the director's personal print
• Full length audio commentary by the director Toshio MATSUMOTO
• Video interview with director Toshio MATSUMOTO
• Promotional material gallery
• Original trailer
• New and improved optional English subtitles
• 40-page booklet featuring a new essay by Jim O’Rourke. (The booklet was updated in 2012 for a repress of this title, replete with a number of minor corrections.)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:04 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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This is now my most eagerly awaited MoC release of the year and I am now very glad that I did not take the BIG plunge on the japanese DVD. I do hope the extras at least duplicate the jp release and I'm sure the booklet will be a great read too.

Here are some reviews.

The inclusion of some of Matsumoto's shorts would be a wonderful addition, by the way!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:00 pm 
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I don't think so, Annie. They are all very formalistic, abstract, experimental films. I don't mean this in a negative sense, but none of them (except perhaps "For My Crushed Right Eye", 1968) has any relation to Funeral whatsoever.

I'm almost sure, that this won't happen, but IMHO a common commentary or video intro by David E. and Donald Richie would be much more valuable: the former for obvious thematic reasons, (and I would be very curious about his thoughts on this film) the latter, because Richie was one of the foremost experimental filmmakers at that time in Japan, and knows the scene from first hand experience.

Point in case: Trond Trondsen just revealed on another listserv, that MoC asked part-time Shinjuku resident Jim O'Rourke for an essay. An excellent choice IMHO, for Jimbo (a close friend of Aoyama and current collaborator of Wakamatsu) is a very entertaining guy, and knows a lot about the Shinjuku scene and the film in question.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:51 am 
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Who is that on the cover? Not Peter.

This is the sort of film that Criterion should be releasing instead of...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:18 am 

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I think that is Peter. Same pose as the r2jp cover.

btw, I love the period after the title.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:37 pm 
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yoshimori wrote:
I think that is Peter. Same pose as the r2jp cover.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:22 pm 

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it's peter, near the end of the film, it's the dress he wears to the re-opening of the bar.

he did a bunch of records afterwards, i can't figure out how to post an image sorry, if i do, i'll put them up...

putney


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:56 pm 
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Here's the trailer for this film.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:18 am 

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Beaver has review up. So is the transfer identical to the Japanese disc? At a glance it seems it has the same (video?) artefacts - chroma/cross colouration/whatever evident in the Beaver caps #4, #5 and #6... Anyone know where do these derive? IIRC all the transfers in the JAP Matsumoto BOX have similar artefacts.

Though I must say subbed extras lure me to double-dipping...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:20 am 
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DVD Times:

Quote:
The Disc

Funeral Parade of Roses arrives in the UK as number 31 in Eureka!'s Masters of Cinema series. An NTSC disc it comes with a mostly impressive presentation and a number of fine additions by way of the special features. If there's one complaint then it's that the image doesn't quite possess perfect sharpness, but otherwise the print is in fine condition, demonstrating few signs of damage, and offering superb contrast levels. (The advertising for Funeral Parade of Roses notes that the print used for the transfer is the director's own.) Likewise, the original Japanese soundtrack is in perfectly acceptable condition and never once presents anything which could be said to be distracting. Furthermore, the optional English subtitles are of a similarly high quality.

Of the extras, the key addition is the recently recorded interview with Matsumoto. Over 23 minutes he touches on all of the key areas of Funeral Parade of Roses' production, allowing for a full context for its making and its themes. Its influences are discussed, as is the casting of Peter, its Oedipal references, his subsequent career and much more besides. All told it makes for a full experience with not a single second wasted. Moreover, there's also a full-length commentary from Matsumoto (recorded in 2003) to flesh out many of this areas more fully. Certainly, many will find that the interview just a fine job on itself, although the additional chat track is more than welcome whilst its scene-specific nature allows us to pick out on a particular point or area all the more easily.

Elsewhere on the disc we're also allowed access to the film's distinctive promotional campaign courtesy of its original Japanese trailer (which contains specially filmed footage) and a poster gallery. Rounding off the package we also have a 40-page booklet which features a new essay by musician, producer and film maker Jim O'Rourke, and an extract from an article on independent Japanese cinema by Roland Domenig (a lecturer in Japanese Studies).


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:42 am 
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I just finished this and was completely blown away. What a surprise this was. I was half-expecting a lot of trippy, meandering scenes that capture "THE 60's" or "GAY CULTURE", but that was not the case at all. Those things were in there, but there is so much packed into the film.

The structure of the narrative, the oedipal theme, Matsumoto's playfulness and inventiveness, the very Godardian spirit, use of humor, etc. were all expertly mixed together. I haven't read the booklet or checked out the interview yet because I had to get on here first and rave about it. How does Matsumoto's other work compare with this?

My favorite part may have been the commentator that is shown about 2 minutes from the end of the film. That's all I'll say, since I don't want to spoil anything for anybody.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:49 am 

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just a quick comment re: the "commentator" near the end, he was a very famous (relatively conservative) film critic in japan at the time, and he had a television show, and that is how he would end the show. just a little background on it, don't want to spoil it for folks who haven't (and should!) see it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:43 pm 
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jorencain wrote:
How does Matsumoto's other work compare with this?

I like Funeral Parade a lot but in my opinion Matsumoto's most important work is his short/experimental/avant-garde films. I tend to think of him more as an experimental film-maker who has also made a few features. Having only made 4 features (as far as I know) these shorts also make up the majority of his career. In case you don't already know there is a three disc set of his short films available here. I think Matsumoto's experimental films are massively important and I find them to be stunning to watch and a huge inspiration. They are also very technically advanced containing a number of techniques which I had not seen before anywhere else.

In Funeral Parade of Roses there is a scene where a group of people are watching a screening of an avant-garde film - that film is Toshio Matsumoto's 1969 short Ecstasis.
I think this has been posted elsewhere but you can also watch Toshio Matsumoto's 1975 short film Phantom on youtube here.


Last edited by vogler on Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:28 pm 
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Midnight Eye's Jasper Sharp reviews film and disc.


Last edited by kinjitsu on Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:35 pm 
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Great disc. The film is still pretty eye-popping (pun not initially intentional), and it's a terrific social document as well. I wouldn't rank it among the top rank of the Japanese New Wave (if I were to be particularly bitchy I'd describe it as Diary of a Shinjuku Thief-lite - oops!), but it's close, and far more interesting than 99% of late sixties art-house product from the rest of the world. I was most interested by the film's experimental residue (such as the visceral extract from Ecstasis), so I'd love MoC to follow this up with a collection of Matsumoto's experimental work.

The director commentary on this was exemplary. Matsumoto is full of detailed, precise information about the process of making the film and the textual and visual quotations he uses. Easily one of the most rewarding director commentaries I've seen (or rather, read). He's either got a phenomenal memory or actually did some proper preparation for the track. As an added bonus, there was minimal overlap between this commentary and the interview, and the booklet covered different areas again. Great scholarly article from Jim O'Rourke: there are way too many actual film scholars who could learn from his example.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:34 pm 
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Just in case no-one has pointed this out yet [i didn't check the first page of posts] but you can see almost 20 of matsumoto's experimental shorts by following this link


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:22 pm 
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The Wikipedia article on this film could use some attention, which would be worthwhile if it gave people more interest in the film, yes? Having not seen it yet (or even read much about it), I can't really contribute anything about it myself for now.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:08 am 
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I just watched this last night and was REALLY impressed. As many others here have said, I went in expecting a kind of fun late-60s hippie romp, and what I got was much deeper and more complex. I especially loved the way that Matsumoto plays with chronology in order to create a really complicated timeline that only slowly reveals its secrets. The intercut flashbacks to Eddie's youth are only the most obvious example of this. More challenging is the way in which the present-day chronology is jumbled and deliberately obscured, so that scenes play out in isolation, and it's only when they're over -- having flowed seamlessly into a scene we saw already earlier in the film -- that we realize where these moments fit into the timeline. This technique forces the viewer into a state that may be very like the drug-addled, living-for-the-present lifestyle of these characters -- only processing one moment at a time, only realizing with much effort quite what each scene could mean. Along with the fast, strobing visual interludes and Godardian use of intertitles, these techniques mark Matsumoto as a remarkable formal stylist.

There's so much here that I'd have to write a huge analytical essay to get at it all, but suffice it to say that this film left me with a lot to think about. The gender-bending treatment of sexuality in the love scenes and the topless dancing scene, the lingering after-impact of WWII, the potential of cinema for social and political commentary. It's all stirred up into Matsumoto's fun, explosive cinema.

Here's another BIG, VERY BIG vote for more Matsumoto from MOC. Peerpee, are you listening?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:01 am 
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sevenarts wrote:
Here's another BIG, VERY BIG vote for more Matsumoto from MOC. Peerpee, are you listening?


As much as I enjoy the bizarreness of his other films, I don't think he replicated the things that many people enjoyed about Funeral Parade of Roses. The Demon is interesting, though I'll have to watch it again to remember why I said that, and Dogura Magra is strange in a nearly Jodorowsky/Terayama (not to simplify those directors by just calling them "strange", but still) kind of way, different though, in being violently introspective and Japanese. War of the Sixteen Year Olds, without subtitles, didn't hold my attention at all (should I return to this, anyone?) Basically, his other films turn into a kind of colorful fog of imagery after you've seen them. They seem to be taking place in the creator's mind only, and you're intruding by watching, not to mention confused. Funeral Parade of Roses is mainstream in comparison, I believe (and not in a Breathless vs. Weekend sort of way, either, it's a much more extreme difference.) Reading back over it, my description may be taken as enticing, but I didn't really mean it that way.

If you feel that kind of enthusiasm over this film, you should probably check out some of the other directors in the Japanese New Wave (if you haven't), specifically some of Oshima's more cinematically daring films of the late sixties (Death By Hanging, Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, Man Who Left His Will On Film, Three Resurrected Drunkards, and Violence at Noon.) I would probably recommend seeking these and a few films by other contemporary directors (though Oshima is fairly easy to find on the net, keep an eye on ebay etc, you can run into serious difficulty with some of the others.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:44 am 
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Also sevenarts, since it was you that started the Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD thread (good work by the way) you really should check out the Japanese box set of Matsumoto's experimental short films. In my opinion they are by far his greatest achievements and some of the most amazing avant-garde films you will find (particularly the second disc). You might also want to add this box set to your avant-garde list.

I actually particularly like Dogura Magura but apart from that I haven't found Matsumoto's other features to be as good as Funeral Parade of Roses. They are all worth checking out though.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:55 am 
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vogler wrote:
Also sevenarts, since it was you that started the Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD thread (good work by the way) you really should check out the Japanese box set of Matsumoto's experimental short films. In my opinion they are by far his greatest achievements and some of the most amazing avant-garde films you will find (particularly the second disc). You might also want to add this box set to your avant-garde list.

The short films are actually what I'd most like to see on a good DVD, but I was under the impression that the box was not English-subtitled. I'd love to hear otherwise.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:05 pm 
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sevenarts wrote:
The short films are actually what I'd most like to see on a good DVD, but I was under the impression that the box was not English-subtitled. I'd love to hear otherwise.

No, the box set has no English subtitles but with the exception of the first disc of 'documentaries' there is no need for them. I'd have to check, but at the moment I can't think of any speech at all on the second and third discs (actually there may be a little bit on disc three but not much). These are visual films accompanied by some incredible music including some by Toru Takemitsu.

The first disc does feature a lot of speech but I still enjoy the films even without understanding what is being said.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 3:15 pm 
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I finally got round to this last night, I have avoided this board like the plague until I could see the film, and reading the last few posts I agree entirely. I too expected the film to be the usual trippy 60s stuff, although having seen Shura and Dogura Magura and knowing that Matsumoto had used the Oedipal narrative with a gay man instead seemed so intriguing and yet I still came out of the film vey, very impressed.

I just have to throw my vote in here for more Matsumoto, I would love to see War of the 16 Year Olds, it was the only unsubbed film in the Asmik Ace box as far as I am aware (I don't own it) so I don't think many non Japanese people will have seen it, this surely would sell well to the Matsumoto/Terayama/Teshigahara/Jodorowsky/Lynch crowd, wouldn't it?

Also, Nick, I was wondering, would it not be great marketing to have some of the available introductions on the website, like the Alex Cox ones done so far. Surely this would whet people's apetities to go and buy the films? Perhaps the are legal problems with this that I am not aware of but I imagine this would be a great marketing tool to have.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:03 pm 
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At first it looked like it'd be right up my alley (Tokyo gay underground!) but after reading about it being an reinterpretation of the Oedipus legend, I thought "no thanks". I just dont care for that type of thing and it's been redone over and over. I could use some convincing before blowing 20 bucks.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:23 pm 
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Michael wrote:
At first it looked like it'd be right up my alley (Tokyo gay underground!) but after reading about it being an reinterpretation of the Oedipus legend, I thought "no thanks". I just dont care for that type of thing and it's been redone over and over. I could use some convincing before blowing 20 bucks.

You know, I thought this would be right up my alley, too. Having watched it twice now, I still can't appreciate it. It's just a mess (but then again, I have very little patience for things Godardian).

I wouldn't worry too much about the Oedipus aspect of it, though. I didn't even get that the first time around and probably would not have on the second unless it had been pointed out to me.


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