Funeral Parade of Roses

image from the film Funeral Parade of Roses

image from the film FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES

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.

No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange.

An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Pîtâ/Peter (Kurosawa’s Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick/Warhol superstar-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet—where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda for the attentions of 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.

“Few movies are as redolent of their times as Funeral Parade of Roses, a 1969 exemplar of Japanese countercultural ferment… its charms have scarcely wilted.” (J. Hoberman, NY Times)

“Toshio Matsumoto's 1969 film Funeral Parade of Roses is a heady affair, especially when seen in our aesthetically and politically conservative times. It imparts the thrill of witnessing the hedonism and lawlessness both sexual and artistic of a bygone culture. You also feel an almost tragic surge of melancholia watching it: where and when, you wonder, will cinema ever get quite this wild again?" (Film Comment)

more info at this website:

In Japanese