Funeral Parade of Roses
Long unavailable, director Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter (Kurosawa’s Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet – where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle between reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) and club owner Gonda. One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons, into a dizzying whirl of image and sound.
Why You Should See This Film
No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. Featuring breathtaking black-and-white cinematography by Tatsuo Suzuki that rivals the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, Funeral Parade of Roses offers a frank, openly erotic and unapologetic portrait of an underground and rarely-filmed queer community. A key work of the Japanese New Wave and a seldom seen piece of art cinema beautifully restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements.