The Films Of Sion Sono

Sion Sono (born 1961) is a Japanese filmmaker, author and poet. He is by no means immune to the Japanese love for perverse eroticism and has made a sion shononumber of films that can be considered to be guro. Perhaps the best-known of these is Strange Circus.

The plot of Strange Circus is that Yuji, assistant to an erotic novelist (Taeko), sets out to uncover the reality of the story Taeko is writing – a story about a family destroyed by incest, murder and abuse. This hackneyed plot device allows Sono to show us the story in which a school headteacher rapes his daughter after she sees her parents having sex and while her mother watches. The headteacher goes on to have wife and daughter pretty much as he pleases.

To add interest (if, indeed, any more is needed) the apartment of the novelist Taeko contains a locked room whose contents Yuji is determined to uncover. While critics have panned the movie, it has to be said that audiences have thought highly of it.

Since then, Sono has made the “Hate” trilogy and a manga series, Tokyo Tribe. Love Exposure, the first of the “Hate” films, was six hours long when Sono made it and, even after he cut it at the request of exhibitors, it is still more than four hours in duration.

The plot is convoluted. Yū Honda, the teenage son of a Catholic priest, is unable to satisfy his father’s request to confess his sins because he has none to confess and therefore decides to commit some. That leads him to new friends he would probably be better off without. After some bizarre adventures in which he cross-dresses, learns to take photographs up women’s skirts and rescues a young woman being attacked by thugs, he attracts the amorous interest of a young woman made psychotic by a series of sexual abuse incidents who shoots every student in her class and a father’s penis.

There is more, but perhaps that is enough for this site.