Matsumoto's film is an unsung LGBT classic mixing aspects of experimental film with counter culture, documentary and drag culture. Even with its over the top grand guignol finish (with a self aware irreverence) this impresses. Recently rediscovered and making the re-release rounds this year. Fascinating, sexy and beautiful.
More linear/narrative than I was expecting... A gorgeous (4K restoration on the big screen!), playful, feverishly intertextual, queer 60s genre mash-up, that's part clever documentary & part 3-wall avant-garde theatre. Recursion, inversion, distortion, disruption, as the great inescapable levellers; as our fate! We're *all* Oedipus/Electra; all (ahem)'wounds' & 'blades'. Subversive, confrontational, iconoclastic fun.
FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES is almost like an eastern variation on the films that made Dušan Makavejev famous during the same period. It similarly has the quality of a portmanteau: a trifecta of approaches to countercultural cinema, weaved rather than bundled. Here we have: 1) a quasi-documentary about the performance of queer identity; 2) paradigm smashing drop-out freak-out; 3) cryptomythic mind-fuck. Yes, please!
Iconoclastic, self-referential, meta-cinema... sexual empowerment, ideological warfare, gender discourse... Exploring the relationship between sexual and political radicalism. Matsumoto's use of visual distortion in that are-bure-boke (rough, blurred, out-of-focus) manner of '60s Japan is incredibly compelling as a tool for subversion of dominant social order and attacking conventional modes of filmic representation.
What better way to explore the overlapping ambiguities of "reality" and "performance", of "political" and "personal", than by chronicling the lives of trans women. Striking is how non-exploitative the whole thing is. Unlike Warhol - who Matsumoto is occasionally indebted to - "Funeral Paradise of Roses" humanizes its subjects, rather than painting them as fascinating objects of study - a notable feat even today.