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Summary: School principal Ozawa Gozo rapes his daughter, Mitsuko, after she sees her parents having sex. Her mother Sayuri witness the event. Gozo now rapes both of them as he pleases, while his family is undermined by incest, suicide, and murder... (imdb)
Sadly, this film does end up being about the final plot twists, but thankfully Sion Sono is able to make it still a good psycho drama. It helps Sono is a far more talented than most in this area of transgressive Japanese cinema, able to take conventional Freudian plot references and said twists and turn them into something much more interesting. It also helps that, from the DVD tagline alone on my copy, reality goes out the window before the film starts, making the twists less egregious.
The film is exactly as the title implies, even by Sono's standards. The cinematography and set/costume design are meticulous and deliberate, the characterisation and performances are - for the most part - thought provoking and solid. However, the wild ambition you can usually expect of Sono's films doesn't always meet with success overall, and this is a case of that. Still, an interesting and unique watch.
"Strange" doesn't even begin to describe this freakish art film about an incestuous love triangle between a husband and wife and their 12 year old daughter. It's a nightmare kaleidoscope of bizarre imagery and shifting realities, made all the more unsettling by the use of carnival music throughout, and it packs a seriously whacked out, gruesome ending. Visceral.
Top badass moment? Let's go for Mitsuko (in her wheelchair) stabbing herself lots of times in the legs with a big kitchen knife, because her father is too busy having sex with someone to take her to the toilet. Taking positive action to ensure you don't commit the social fax pas of pissing yourself is probably badass; this particular example is maybe just a bit over the top, although it certainly does put him off his stride, so to speak. 0 cats and 0 decapitations.
The film sure does live up to its name. The first film that comes to mind after watching this is Gozu, both are pretty far out there. Where this differs is with the story, its more developed, and the shocking scenes are there for a reason.
A very strange film about sexual abuse, rape, pedophilia, incest, mutilation, and...the circus. "Strange Circus" is over the top and is set up that way from the beginning. I have to say, though, that its first Act is better than the last two; it just has more deep issues and deals with them in an in-depth, disturbing way. The ending lost me and I wish that the audience was taken a little more seriously. In the end, "Strange Circus" is quite a spectacle and I'm glad I was able to experience it.