Apr 24, 2013

Funeral Parade of Roses




Admittedly, there is something rather creepy and repellant about drag queens and trannies (hence why they are always the subject of jokes and mental derangement, especially in the pre-p.c. gay world), which probably has to do with the fact that no matter how much makeup they wear and how much money they waste on mutilating themselves with plastic surgery, their Y chromosomes will always have control, even if they have an ostensibly ‘female soul,’ yet it seems Japs in drag—for whatever reason (but most likely due to 'delicate' and petite overall look of the entire Japanese race, both male and female)—have a much easier time pulling their gender-bending off, especially in comparison to their Aryan and Negro counterparts, or at least that is what one would be led to believe after watching Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) aka Bara no Sōretsu directed by Toshio Matsumoto. A criminally underrated and under-seen work of avant-garde Jap pop-art of the cinematically hybridized experimental and cinéma vérité sort that schizophrenically blends elements from melodrama, horror, agitprop, and documentary, as well as fiction and reality, Funeral Parade of Roses would go on to inspire none other than Stanley Kubrick, who utilized aesthetic and thematic elements of the Japanese film for his masterpiece of dystopian ultra-violence A Clockwork Orange (1971), yet Matsumoto has only gained a marginal reputation in the Occident for his debut-feature-length masterpiece of the gender confused. The Japanese equivalent to what Warhol was doing cinematically in NYC at the time with works like Chelsea Girls (1966) and Lonesome Cowboys (1968), except all the more technically competent and all the more degenerate and morally reprehensible, Funeral Parade of Roses takes place in a superlatively seedy and socially subversive underground Sodom of late-1960s Tokyo, where gay men that are called “queens” dress in women’s clothing yet hate the fairer sex and will stop at nothing to steal their men. An innately aberrant and sardonic cinematic adaption of the Sophocles' Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, except with a twist where the anti-hero murders his mother instead of his father due to his incestuous homosexuality as opposed to heterosexuality, Funeral Parade of Roses is a wild and wanton window into a post-WWII Japan – a place where the ancient legacy of the samurai is no more and where “men” are more willing to wear dresses and makeup and violently attack women than flying a plane into an American battleship. The first and probably the greatest gay Japanese film ever made, Funeral Parade of Roses is—not unlike many Jap films—a work that is simultaneously a goofy and grotesque piece of oriental psychopathia sexualis in celluloid mosaic form that is greater than the sum of its equally sordid and satirical parts.  As a filmmaker character in Funeral Parade of Roses states, quoting Jonas “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema” Mekas, “All definitions of cinema have been erased…” and the same can be certainly said in regard to Matsumoto's magnetic and mystifying gay Jap masterpiece of the merrily macabre.



Eddie (played by real-life tranvestite “Pîtâ” aka “Peter” who later played 'Kyoami the Fool' in Akira Kurosawa’s Ran (1985)) is a mixed up “Japanese Michael Alig” who does what he wants whenever he wants, especially if it is going to fulfill some sort of hedonistic desire and/or further cement his infamous reputation as a rabid drag queen of the unhinged Tokyo underground realm. A pathological narcissist who stares at himself in the mirror all day and night, Eddie has taken his stereotypically female character traits to such extremes that he is willing to do anything to calm his estrogen-driven jealousy, including bitching out women with real boobs and even brutally murdering them, including the woman who gave birth to him. Being the fierce femme in the relationship, Eddie relies on 'butch' alpha-queer Gonda (Yoshio Tsuchiya, who starred in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and High and Low)—the criminally-inclined owner of the fittingly titled “Bar Genet” who is involved in prostitution and drug dealing—for sex, drugs, and rock n roll, but a rival drag queen named Leda (Osamu Ogasawara in his sole film role), who runs the bar, wants to tear the terrible twosome apart. When it comes down to it, Eddie is an attention and pleasure seeking whore will do anything and everything for a meager inkling of fame and fortune, including being the subject of a documentary on Tokyo Trannies and underground porn films that are pinker than a pussy lady-boy in a kimono and go-go boots. Of course, erotomaniac Eddie’s life was not always so glamorous as his belligerent bitch of a mother (Emiko Azuma) was not amused when she found her fairy son putting on her makeup and posing like a true poof in her mirror, so she naturally beat the shit out of him, but proving to be the true “queen bitch,” the prodigal son turned perverted daughter paid her back by symbolically stabbing her in the womb.  Plagued by his matricidal past and his deep-seated desire to be a real biological woman, deranged Eddie is naturally on the verge on detonating and with the sort of drug-addicted drag queens and fag pimps he surrounds himself with, it is only a matter of time before he explodes in a cinematic climax fit for a jaded Japanese queen. so it is only a matter of time before his   As a schizophrenic film-within-a-film with pseudo-documentary and sex scenes from the porn flick Eddie is starring in, Funeral Parade of Roses is essentially like an erratic adventure through the abberosexual anti-hero’s perturbed yet playful mind, where his transvestite persona and ‘true self’ get lost somewhere in a bittersweet maze of madness, misery, and ecstasy. Taking its central theme from the verse “I am the wound and the blade, both the torturer and he who is flayed” from the poetry volume Les Fleurs du mal (1857) aka The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire, Funeral Parade of Roses offers a sympathetic, albeit now politically incorrect, perspective of what it is like being a sexually confused Japanese man whose very essence is out of wack with his biological body, thus leading to the most brazen and, quite literally, bloody of consequences of a mixed-up man-woman who no longer wants to 'see' reality for what it is.



In regard to his use of real newscasters, hippie drug addicts, drag queens and whatnot in Funeral Parade of Roses, director Toshio Matsumoto offered the following insight regarding his technique with the film, “They appeared as real people…half acting in the roles in the film…and half portraying themselves in a real situation. That’s the kind of style in which I wanted them to appear. I certainly didn’t have the budget for it…so I just asked them as friends to appear in the film. However, it’s very difficult to tell when you’re watching the film…what exactly is a real situation and what is fictional…what I mean is that…not everything in the film...is neatly arranged within a frame of reference.” Indeed, Funeral Parade of Roses is aesthetically anarchic as it is morally and sexually, as a delightfully deranged and discordant work featuring Cocteau-esque camera tricks, Warholian wantonness, a protagonist more psychosexually disturbed than Norman Bates of Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), homo human creatures as camp-ridden and flaming as in Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1963), yellow cocksucking criminals as callous and corrupt as those featured in the novels of Jean Genet and morbidness and grotesquery as aesthetically pleasing as the words of Baudelaire, and a postmodern celluloid montage technique that puts the works of Alexander Kluge to shame. Indubitably, it is no coincidence that novelist Yukio Mishima—a quasi-closeted gay man who worked in various avant-garde artistic mediums that would eventually become extremely right-wing and nationalist and lived by the bushido (the code of the samurai), even forming his own private army, the Tatenokai ("shield society")—committed ritual suicide via seppuku only a year after the release of Funeral Parade of Roses, thus making him, arguably, the last Japanese public figure to commit self-slaughter in such an ancient fashion. With apocalyptic quotes like, “I wish the whole country would sink underwater” and “The world is reaching its end,” Funeral Parade of Roses acts as a sort of campy cinematic last rites for everything that was traditional in Japan before because, as where in the past menmerely dressed in women’s clothing for Kabuki theatre, now they have literally taken on female identities and adopted degenerate Occidental counter-culture garbage.  Indeed, it may have been a great human tragedy when the Americans nuked the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War, but the greatest tragedy caused by the war was the disintegration of the nuclear family, traditional Japanese culture, and the way of the samurai, and a film like Funeral Parade of Roses just happens to be one of the few good, if not odious and ominous yet sardonically side-splitting, aesthetic occurrences to come out of this steady cultural degeneration, but as the conclusion of Matsumoto's film reveals, things in the "Land of the Rising Sun" may get rather ugly if these cultural trends do not end.  After all, something has to be going terribly wrong in a nation where one can buy used female panties in a vending machine.



-Ty E

6 comments:

eddie lydecker said...

Ty E, that geezer looking in the mirror dressed up as a bird dont look like a bird, he still looks like a geezer ! ! !.

teddy crescendo said...

So Ty E you`ve finally agreed that it was J. Robert Oppenheimer and his colleagues at the Girl-hatton project in 1945 who literally created modern Japan, well done my old mate.

steve prefontaine said...

Sure, maybe being able to buy used birds knickers in a vending machine is a bit odd but on the flip side what about Sonys Trinitron system, JVCs Blackstripe system, and Panasonics Quintrix system, they all still give a better picture than the best of todays Plasmas, LCDs, or LEDs ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

The worst effect of the nuclear bombs on Japan was that it normalised pansy queer scum-of-the earth, before 1945 being a pansy queer bastard was punishable by be-heading in Japan (and rightly so of course), but for the last 68 years fairys have run rampant just like in the once great land of the Kraut bastards, it always hits a nation incredibly hard when it loses a war but then for that country to become infested with disgusting faggots, well, that really is the last straw and the final insult ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Actually Ty E, strickly speaking, when you think about it, maybe selling used birds knickers in vending machines is a step in the right direction in Japan after all because at least it does relate to heterosexual activity, who knows maybe a few more apparently bizarre ideas like that might ultimately bring about the extinguishing of pansy queer bastards completely in Japan, one can but hope.

teddy crescendo said...

Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Sanyo all used to make superb CRT TVs as well. Plasma, LCD, and LED are all crap.