Love Exposure




The Plot:  The burden of religion, the meaning of love and the aimlessness of youth all play equal parts in Sion Sono's latest opus. Yu is an all around good kid trying to find his footing in the world after the death of his mother. He goes to school, hangs out with friends and hopes to find a Virgin Mary he can call the love of his life (the dying wishes of his mother). Then there's Yu's father who's a tormented priest who hasn't been quite the same since the passing of his wife. He's rather fed up with religion and is obsessed with sinning and confession. He rambles at church, appears to be insane at times and manages to totally neglect his son. So Yu does what any good son would do to set his father back on the right path, he deliberately goes out and commits every sin in the book, in order to be able to confess to his father. All this and it's only the prologue. Did I mention this movie clocks in at nearly 4 hours?

First of all, you would expect a movie tackling so many heavy topics to unavoidably take itself too seriously. This movie never does, its biggest  strength is that it's able to find humour in the murkiest of situations. Sion Sono expertly uses his camera to zoom into the messy lives of his characters in order to find the common tread that runs through them.  It's religon that brings them together but at what cost?

And then there's the whole up-skirt photography subplot that I'm sure will raise some eyebrows. For Yu, taking pictures of girls' crotches at first, is meant   to be a deliberate way to sin and get his father's attention. As the movie progresses though, we see it develope into an obsession that causes him to pretty much lead a double life. He's ashamed of it but at the same time he embraces it, because he's good at it. His knack for taking crotch shots is the only logical thing in an otherwise nonsensical world. It's a ballsy stance to take, but to Sono's credit,  he never backs away. It's almost as if he said to himself, this is the position my movie is going to take and that's that.

Conclusion:  It's a dangerous movie that some will dismiss as being over the top  and misanthropic. And at nearly 4 hours, I can see people losing patience.  My thought is , from start to finish, this movie  never falters. It manages to be smart, funny, affecting and overall engaging. Definitely one of the best of the year!

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