Funeral Parade of Roses

29 08 2012

Synopsis: I really don`t know how to describe this film, so I`ll take the synopsis from imdb, which still doesn`t quite cover everything in this film:

The trials and tribulations of Eddie and other transvestites in Japan.

Super awesome things: this film isn’t for everyone.  It is, especially in the first half of the film, very experimental, partly due to the non-linear structure.  I found myself going, “???!???!?!?” for a lot of the time.  But then things start to make sense as it goes along, and a clear(ish) story begins to emerge from the confusion, through the mud.  It’s only after the film is done that you can really digest everything you’ve seen as a great work of art.  And a great work of art this film is.

There are moments of great comedy choices, like when Eddie and Leda are fighting and they exchange single-line insults to each other via speech bubbles, like a comic strip.  The effect is cartoonish, which is exactly the mood Matsumoto was probably going for — that these senseless fights are childish.  I actually also really liked how the film is structured, despite its confusing quality.  The way it’s edited is also impressive, and the sense of foreboding mystery, that something really twisted is just lurking beneath the surface is all-too palpable.  Funeral Parade of Roses is a film that makes you think, that gives out the pieces and you’re not even sure what the picture is supposed to look like.  But as you fit the pieces together, the picture gets clearer, and it’s a picture that you, unfortunately, know.  That’s really the best analogy I can give to this film.

Not so awesome things: the confusion is certainly something to consider, but really, the narrative is through Eddie’s eyes, and thoughts, as everyone knows, are not linear.  They are fragmented, jumping from random thought to random memory.  I would have to watch this at least once more to really understand the film’s nuances (and watch the ending, since at the screening, the disk was damaged and we didn’t get to watch the ending), so I don’t really have much to say.  There was one sequence when the music was played at ear-splitting levels, and I’m not sure if that was because of the projector or if it was the film, but that wasn’t pleasant.

Good for watching: for a film class on queer films (this was made in 1969).

Overall: fascinating experimental take on a tragic story, loaded with symbolism.

Grade: A