Yesterday, we had the chance to meet Eiji Uchida, the director of Greatful Dead (2013), Lowlife Love (2015), and Love and Other Cults (2017) at the Belgian premiere of the latter narrative. After the screening, a small Q&A was held and, later that night, we even had the chance to have a more personal chat with this wonderful director. What follows is not interview in the true sense – an interview might come later based on this meeting, but an impression of our meeting.
“Sion Sono’s poetry questions enjoyment and its function within contemporary Japanese society with ultra-violent precision. This is, in other words, Sion Sono at its finest.”
With Tokyo Vampire Hotel, Sion Sono finally found his chance to turn his childhood fascination, which started when he watched the 1958 cult classic Dracula starring Christopher Lee as a child – into a cinematographical product (General-note 1).
“The likability of Gou Ayano as Tatsuhiko still shines, turning the second part of Tatsuhiko’s narrative, despite being thematically different and not being refreshing at all, [into] an enjoyable narrative to experience.”
After the commercial success Sion Sono’s manga adaptation Shinjuku Swan was – racking in 1.33 billion yen, it should not come as a surprise that a sequel would follow. But this time, besides Sion Sono returning to the directors seat, the highly acclaimed Japanese action director Kenji Tanigaki, best known by his work for the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, was attracted to help choreographing the narrative’s fighting sequences. While this focus on fighting might be an interesting addition, we cannot help but wonder if Shinjuku swan 2 is a worthy sequel or just a cheap cash-in.
“The likeability of Gou Ayano as Tatsuhiko and surprisingly dense narrative makes sure that Shinjuku Swan is better than your average manga-adaptation”
With Shinjuku swan, an adaptation of Ken Wakui’s Manga series, Sion Sono presents one of his most commercial narrative to date. While Sion Sono has already ventured in translating manga to the silver screen – with his comically perverted eiga minna esupa da yo! (2015) and his bloody and gruesome Tag (2015), this narrative is one of the more mainstream movies he has made up until now.
“The cinematographical lyricism – poetics by movement and poetics by the signifier – (…) masterly isolates the problematic nature of male sexual enjoyment and the hypocrite situation of a male-dominant society professing freedom.”
Given Sion Sono’s track record of creating movies that turn around sexuality (Guilty of Romance (2011)) and aggression (Suicide circle (2002)), and investigate, often poetically, human nature and society, it should not have come as a surprise that Nikkatsu invited Sono to create a roman-porno to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno label.