films seen
average score
Japan - 62 years old
Alive and kicking
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One of the thriving creative voices of modern Japanese cinema. Sono's films are loud, in your face and unpredictable. Entertaining, but not without depth and vision, always challenging the status quo. It's people like Sono who keep cinema interesting.


Tokyo Tribe

2014 / 116m - Japan
Action, Musical
Tokyo Tribe poster

A killer ride from beginning to end. It's brutal, outrageous, funny, weird and it has a terrific drive. If you dismiss films that are pure escapist fun, you shouldn't even venture near it.


2016 / 76m - Japan
Antiporno poster

Antiporno is a zany, extrovert and anything but subtle piece of cinema with the potential to be very divisive. It's not for everybody, but Sono fans are sure to have a blast with this one.

The Whispering Star

Hiso Hiso Boshi
2015 / 100m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
The Whispering Star poster

It's original, quirky, stylish and otherworldly, which is quite a feat considering Sono's track record. A tough cookie on the outside, but incredibly rich in taste and texture on the inside.


Riaru Onigokko
2015 / 85m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Tag poster

There are some very memorable scenes and the acting is spot on, add some nice-looking camera work and a great score and it's clear Sion Sono has another winner on his hands.

Tokyo Vampire Hotel - The Movie

2017 / 142m - Japan
Fantasy, Horror
Tokyo Vampire Hotel - The Movie poster

Absolutely batshit crazy vampire flick from Sono. This film is the condensed version of the TV series and it does show in places (the pacing and stylistic finish can be a bit wobbly), but man it this a blast. Colorful cinematography, colorful characters, gallons of blood, Sono's signature madness and an onslaught of memorable moments make this an absolute delight. I'm actually interested in watching the series now, though I'm glad I watched the film version first. A delight.

Why Don't You Play in Hell?

Jigoku de Naze Warui
2013 / 126m - Japan
Why Don't You Play in Hell? poster

It's no doubt one of the least serious films Sono has made so far, but there's so much vigor and energy here that only the most hardened stiffs would mind.

The Forest of Love

Ai-naki Mori de Sakebe
2019 / 151m - Japan
Thriller, Crime
The Forest of Love poster

The Forest of Love is a film about a loose canon in a world gone mad. As things start to spiral out of control, Sono rids himself of every last bit of restraint and delivers a film full of raw energy and excess, raging towards a completely warped and grueling finale. Not for the faint of heart, but Sono fans are sure to have a blast with this one.

Cold Fish

Tsumetai Nettaigyo
2010 / 144m - Japan
Cold Fish poster

Cold Fish is a film that will sit well with those who appreciate awkward, cruel and excessive Japanese cinema.

Strange Circus

Kimyo na Sakasu
2005 / 108m - Japan
Strange Circus poster

Strange Circus is a stellar film that still counts as one of Sono's absolute best efforts to date. The subject matter is rather risqué though and Sono's approach is far from subtle.


2011 / 129m - Japan
Drama, Thriller
Himizu poster

The first fifteen minutes where a little though, but once Sumida starts his descent into madness the film never back down.


Ai no Mukidashi
2008 / 237m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Love/Exposure poster

Don't let that hold you back though. Love Exposure is a great experience, offering lots of weirdness, fun and shock while never boring its audience.

The Bastard and the Beautiful World

Kuso Yarô to Utsukushiki Sekai
2018 / 105m - Japan
Comedy, Crime - Anthology
The Bastard and the Beautiful World poster

A Japanese anthology sporting three oddball stories and a wrap-around segment that doesn't really wrap around the others, but bundles the conclusions of each short and saves them for the finale. It's a bit of an odd concept, it doesn't make too much sense to be honest, then again it's clear the directors were more concerned with creating something fresh and fun. The result is pretty successful too. Each story is cool in its own way, the actors are in on the joke and there are plenty of stand-out scenes, with Sono's segment sticking out as the best of the bunch.

Shinjuku Swan

Shinjuku Suwan
2015 / 139m - Japan
Shinjuku Swan poster

What Shinjuku Swan may lack in originality, it makes up for in rock-solid execution.

Exte: Hair Extensions

2007 / 108m - Japan
Exte: Hair Extensions poster

Exte: Hair Extensions might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film.

Guilty of Romance

Koi no Tsumi
2011 / 144m - Japan
Guilty of Romance poster

Guilty of Romance may not be Sono's brightest, most ambitious or most accomplished work, but it's a more than solid addition to Sono's already strong oeuvre.

Shinjuku Swan II

Shinjuku Suwan II
2017 / 133m - Japan
Action, Crime
Shinjuku Swan II poster

A fine sequel to the first film, that succeeds in offering more of the same, only in a slightly different way. Tadanobu Asano is a real asset, Sono's talent is unmistakable and while a bit long, the film never drags or gets boring. If you liked the first film, this is an easy recommend, just make sure to watch that one first.

Prisoners of the Ghostland

2021 / 103m - USA
Action, Horror
Prisoners of the Ghostland poster

The mere idea of Sion Sono and Nicolas Cage making a film together made many cult fan drool uncontrollably. And sure enough, it did sound like a pretty perfect combination. This could very well become Sono's Sukiyaki Western Django, though I'm sure Sono himself would resent the Miike comparison. Sadly for him, Miike also did it better.

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The premise is pretty simple, which is normal considering this is more or less a Mad Max clone. The governor's daughter has run away, so he straps a jailed criminal into a highly explosive suit, and he gives him five days to find her. The post-apocalyptic wastelands are very hazardous territory though, so finding her and taking her back in one piece won't be a trivial task.

Marrying Japanese and American influences within a film is never easy, and there are moments when Sono stumbles. There's plenty of crazy and the film certainly has its share of memorable ideas, but it never really culminates in the cult cool you'd expect from a project like this. The sets are creative and colorful, the characters are mad and the pacing is perfect, even so the film lacks impact. A minor disappointment.

Red Post on Escher Street

Escher Dori no Akai Posuto
2020 / 149m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Red Post on Escher Street poster

Sono's latest is a pretty light film. There's none of his usual craziness (or at least, very little), there's no excessive violence, harsh drama or over-the-top absurdities. It's actually a film you can watch with your family around. So instead we get a slightly larger than life comedy that meanders from beginning to end.

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Kobayashi is a popular and respected director. For his next film he's looking for a cast of amateur actors, so he spreads his casting call around and accepts all the applications. The film plays like a series of vignettes, detailing the lives of all the people who applied for the audition.

150 minutes is a bit much for a film with no clear endgame. Performances are good (Morgan Mara is a real find - I'm certain we'll be seeing her again), the cinematography is nice and there are some solid smiles, but in the end it lacks something that kept me fully engaged for the entire runtime. Not Sono's best, but even his more pedestrian films are well worth a watch.

Love & Peace

Rabu & Pîsu
2015 / 117m - Japan
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Love & Peace poster

A cute, children-appropriate Sono film. Yes, they do exist and they're quite fun too. This weird mix of music, Christmas, and Kaiju elements is an entertaining mess, a bit uneven in places, but a film that can be watched by the entire family without the need for some very uncomfortable conversations afterward. Unless when someone asks to explain the bonkers plot.

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Ryoichi's dream to become a punk rocker has died a silent death and his relationship with Yuki fails to become romantic. He gets a pet turtle and calls it Pikadon, but his colleagues make fun of his new friend. After flushing it down the toilet, Pikadon ends up in the sewers, where he finds a mysterious old man who decides to rescue the turtle.

The weird plot and the sewer/Kaiju adventures make this a very entertaining endeavor, the only thing I didn't care for was the rock drama. When Japan combines its music and film industries it rarely ends well, sadly Love & Peace is no exception. Ik makes the middle part a little sluggish, other than that this was a light and pleasant Sono film.

The Virgin Psychics

Eiga: Minna! Esupâ Da Yo!
2015 / 114m - Japan
Comedy, Drama, Mystery
The Virgin Psychics poster

Sono taking on the harem anime. It's super weird to see a style that is so particular to anime brought to live-action, but that's in part why this is such an entertaining film. It's definitely not one of Sono's best or brightest films, at the same time it was hard not to be amused by the nonsense on display here. That's definitely worth something too.

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Yoshiro is an average, unremarkable student. One day he wakes up with supernatural powers. He can read people's minds, which throws his life upside down. He's not the only one in his city who woke up with new capabilities though. A power struggle begins, as not everyone is planning to use their newly acquired skills to do good.

I'm not sure why Sono decides to make this film. It certainly didn't help his reputation, maybe he just wanted to have a laugh at the expense of otaku, or it's just a little silliness in between more demanding projects. Regardless, Sono commits and the result is lots of fun. It's a bit like watching a Noboru Iguchi film but made by a more capable director.

The Land of Hope

Kibô no Kuni
2012 / 133m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
The Land of Hope poster

Sono's Fukushima drama. He's probably not the best director to tackle such a theme, but he did pretty well all things considered. While the drama gets a bit too big and loud, there are also some surprisingly subtle moments and a few interesting angles on the impact this event had on the Fukushima residents.

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Yoichi and Izumi have a little farm in the countryside, which they tend to with their parents. An earthquake hits Fukushima and the natural disaster destroys a nearby power plant. Yoichi doesn't want to leave his farm, but when he hears that his wife is pregnant, he is forced to make some tough decisions.

There's no lack of quality Japanese drama, and Sono can't quite meet that bar. Some of the performances are a little off, the drama isn't quite subtle enough and the film's a bit too long, but there are interesting and memorable moments. If he could've tightened the film just a little, this might have been a personal favorite. As it is, it's a strong film about the Fukushima disaster, but not one that rivals its peers.

Be Sure to Share

Chanto Tsutaeru
2009 / 109m - Japan
Be Sure to Share poster

A more traditional drama from the hands of Sono. It's a bit of an outlier in his oeuvre, but seeing this film was dedicated to his father, I guess Sono needed to get something off of his chest. It's certainly not the best the genre has to offer, but it is a very capable film with at least one stand-out scene.

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Shiro's dad has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Shiro has always had a strong bond with his dad, seeing how he was also his football coach when he was younger, but he was never really able to tell his dad how he felt. Because time is running out, Shiro tries to make the best of their final days together.

The performances are solid, the styling is appropriate and there are some hard-hitting moments. Sono would have done well to keep the drama a little simpler though. It would've made for a more concise and pointed film, as opposed to the more complex and dragged-out version we're seeing now. Fine Japanese drama filler for the fans.


2005 / 103m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Hazard poster

Sono made a little trip to the US, and he took Joe Odagiri with him. You're not getting the most balanced view of New York here, as the US functions as a mere representation of the title. Still, it is always fun when a director shoots in a different country. Though the film takes a little time to get up to speed, the second half delivers on its promise.

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Shin is tired of his boring, sheltered life in Japan, so he decides to relocate to New York. Once there he is taken aback by the violence and racism. When he is robbed he feels defeated, but while he tries to steal some food from a grocery store he runs into two compatriots who decide to help him out. Shin joins their little gang.

The performances are all over the place and the overly stereotypical depiction of the US is a little grating at first, but once you start to understand where Sono is going with this film things start to fall into place. The film becomes progressively more interesting and those who stick with it will find some strong scenes in its second half. Not Sono's beat, but interesting regardless.

Into a Dream

Yume no Naka E
2005 / 103m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Into a Dream poster

A film that had everything to become a prime Sono, except budget (or a director willing to go the extra mile to make up for his lack of budget). Fans of Sono will find a lot to love here, but unless you can cope with the bland finish and some very peculiar pacing decisions you'll have a hard time dedicating yourself in full to this film.

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A low-ranking actor travels back to his hometown for his high school reunion. He doesn't just want to catch up with his old classmates, he also wants to find out who gave him an STD all these years ago. Once back he begins to remember why he left this town all those years ago, and as his mind travels back in time, he forgets why he decided to return.

It takes a while to get going, but once Sono gets his film on the rails it's more than intriguing enough. There are some memorable scenes, it's never dull despite some pacing issues and even though not everything is explained in full, I never felt I lacked crucial information. If Sono should remake any of its films, it's probably this one.

Suicide Circle

Jisatsu Sâkuru
2001 / 99m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Suicide Circle poster

An odd Sono that made its way to the West based on the popularity of other Japanese horror films. This is something very different though, which is probably why it caught me (and many others) off guard the first time around. Watching it back now I enjoyed it quite a bit more, but it's still not among Sono's best films.

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A mass suicide shocks Japan. More than 50 high school students gather in a station and jump in front of an oncoming train. The police are puzzled, more so when a string of human skin is sent to them and suicides keep multiplying. A mysterious website seems to be the key to unraveling the mystery.

The opening scene is a true classic, but once the investigation gets underway the film slows down too much. The performances are strong (not too surprising if you check the cast) and there are several scenes that jump out. The ending too is an absolute delight for fans of Japanese kookiness, only Sono would hone his work considerably in the following years. Good, but not great.

The Real Body

2000 / 110m - Japan
Comedy, Drama, Romance
The Real Body poster

A fun and challenging Sono experiment. It's one of the first films where his talent for wild and inventive cinema starts to shine through, and even though it's far removed from the refinement found in his later work, the vibrant and dynamic feel of the film is reminiscent of something like Love/Exposure. A film Sono fans can't miss out on in other words.

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The plot is rather basic but functions more as an excuse for Sono to fire off some of his creativity. Sion is a young director who comes across a girl who is secretly in love with a cook. The problem is, she has never even spoken to the guy. He decides to make a documentary about her, and with the help of a fashion designer and a butoh master, he tries to make the girl's dreams come true.

The film is set up as a documentary, and I wouldn't be surprised if Sono used some unscripted material here, but the film is obviously a construct. The cinematography is drab, but I loved the score, the energy, and the lack of conventions. I consider this film the real start of Sono's madcap career, so if you love wild Sono, be sure to give this film a go.

Balloon Club, Afterwards

Kikyû Kurabu, Sonogo
2006 / 93m - Japan
Balloon Club, Afterwards poster

A more straightforward drama from the hands of Sono. It's not a bad film, but it's obvious that he has a much harder time distinguishing himself doing these kinds of films. Sono is best known for being quite extravagant, while Japanese dramas tend to be more gentle and introverted. If you're a fan of the genre though, Balloon Club won't disappoint.

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Jiro used to be part of a ballooning club. Some of the members were true ballooning fans, others were just there for the company, or to find a soul mate. Several years later, Jiro hears that the leader of the club died in an accident. It's a good time for the former members to have a little gathering and reminisce about the good old days.

The shakey DV camera work isn't the greatest and the film feels a little aimless. Sono explores some of the relationships between the members of the club, but that's about the gist of it. The score is pretty unique though and if you like watching Japanese youngsters hanging around and going about their business, it's a pretty entertaining watch.

Noriko's Dinner Table

Noriko no Shokutaku
2005 / 159m - Japan
Drama, Horror
Noriko's Dinner Table poster

A Suicide Club-related film. Noriko's Dinner Table is set in the same universe, but it's still very much its own thing. Don't go into this expecting a straight-up prequel, but if you liked Sono's breakthrough film there's a considerable chance you won't be disappointed by this one. Just make sure you've got that extra 60 minutes to spare because it's a long one.

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Noriko doesn't feel at home in her suburban family, so she decides to run away and move to Tokyo. She seeks out one of her online friends and becomes part of her "family circle", a little club of people who can be hired to pose as fake family members. Noriko convinces her sister to come and join her, but when her dad hears about the emergence of suicide clubs on the news, he travels to Tokyo to find his daughters.

Suicide Club was a pretty strange beast, Noriko's Dinner Table is too, but in different ways. It's a pretty fragmented film, following four people who each share their version of the events. It's also quite long and it has some bigger ups and downs. There are still some signature Sono moments, but there are some lulls too, and the climax comes a bit too early. Still, if you like Sono's madness, it's going to be worthy of your attention.

The Room

1993 / 92m - Japan
Drama, Thriller
The Room poster

One of Sono's earlier films. It has all the marks of a director still looking for his signature style. You'll find quite a bit of experimentation here. Some of it works, but other parts of the film were a bit too random, slow, and unpolished for me. I still liked The Room, but I think you need to have a real penchant for slow cinema to get the most out of this one.

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There's only about 15 minutes worth of plot here. A hitman hires a real estate agent to find him a room in Tokyo. The hitman is looking for some peace and quiet, but the rooms that are presented to him don't fit the bill. The agent takes a different approach and takes the hitman to visit some farther-off places, located in the slums of the city.

There's quite a bit of footage of people standing around and waiting, elongates shots of the city and the port of Tokyo. The black-and-white cinematography is decent but nothing too out of the ordinary, the soundtrack is interesting, but not quite polished enough to carry the film singlehandedly. I certainly didn't mind The Room, but I need more polish to get completely wrapped up in a mood piece like this.

Minna! Esper Dayo!: Bangai Hen Esper Miyako e Iku poster

A TV movie/special based on Sono's Virgin Psychics series. That year he'd also make a real feature film adaptation, it's no surprise that one was quite a bit better compared to this attempt. Not that I didn't have some fun here, it's just that the production quality is pretty poor, which makes this little more than an elongated TV series episode.

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Yoshiro and his team of espers are going to Tokyo. They got a worrisome text message from one of their friends, and they've been unable to reach her since. When they arrive at her school, they find that her class has been taken over by three different gangs. Word is also out that their virginity is key to keeping their esper powers, which is pretty tricky at Yoshiro's age.

High class this is not, but I knew that going into it. Sono does commit to the material though, silly as it is, and that's what makes it funny. The cast is also pretty solid for this type of thing, with Shota Sometani in the lead and a nice secondary part for Yuki Sakurai. Far from great, but if you like ultra-daft comedies with a raunchy edge, it's pretty decent.

Make the Last Wish

2009 / 109m - Japan
Mystery, Thriller
Make the Last Wish poster

A strange mix of supernatural, thriller and documentary elements. Sono crashes an Avril Lavigne fan contest and weaves his own story through it. The result is a little messy and the film doesn't feel very polished, but it's an intriguing mess that did keep me engaged from start to finish. Far from Sono's best, but decent filler nonetheless.

Bad Film

Warui Eiga
2012 / 161m - Japan
Comedy, Action, Crime
Bad Film poster

Released in 2012, but this is in fact an older Sono film he finished two decades after he made it. It's pure fanservice really, a fun film for followers of Sono who want to see how he developed himself as a director. And in that sense, it's not too bad, as long as you can deal with the unpolished styling and poor performances.

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Close to the handover of Hong Kong, conflict between the Japanese and Chinese immigrants in the Koenji area flares up. A possible savior comes from an unexpected source. When a Japanese boy and a Chinese girl fall in love, they inspire the gay communities of both nationalities to join forces, and together they are hellbent on easing the tension.

The setup is pretty interesting, but the execution needed some polish. It feels like a cross between a lesser Tsukamoto, a meager (Gakuryu) Ishii, and a tepid Miike. It's certainly not all bad though, Sono's talent already shines through and for a film that goes well past the 2-hour, it never gets boring. It's just that Sono wasn't quite ready to do justice to the material he was handling here.

I Am Keiko

Keiko Desu Kedo
1997 / 61m - Japan
I Am Keiko poster

One of Sono's earlier, more experimental films. It's a film centered around the concept of time and boredom, so don't expect any madcap Sono antics here. It's a typical film by a young director exploring the boundaries of his medium. In that sense, it's a pretty fun and interesting feature, but the skills needed to do justice to the material weren't quite there yet.

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Keiko is a young waitress living alone in Tokyo. She doesn't have anyone, and when her father dies of cancer she turns even more inward. She becomes obsessed with time, and three weeks before her 22nd birthday she decides to document the time she spends in that period, no matter how lonely or confrontational the exercise will be.

Sono does his best to create an introspective atmosphere, and while many of his attempts are on the mark, with a film like this every detail matters. The cinematography is promising and the soundtrack can be quite mesmerizing, but the direction is a little too imprecise to make it work consistently. It's an interesting experiment from a talented director, but not 100% successful.


1986 / 31m - Japan
Romance, Experimental
Love poster

Another early Sono short, where he once again features as the lead character. This time he's madly in love (hence the title), though I'm not sure if it matters all that much. These films seem to follow a pretty fixed structure, where Sono is basically filming his young, hyperactive self.

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The technical qualities are poor and amateurish, the image quality is extremely grainy, the camera work is rough and the use of the soundtrack is very basic. Half of the time it's just Sono himself shouting things at the camera, the other half are some random scenes that hardly connect to the broader whole.

But there's a lot of energy and even though individual scenes don't really impress, the whole is vibrant and alive. It does offer an interesting window in Sono's mind and fans of the man's work will have an easy time connecting the dots, as a stand-alone work it isn't quite as interesting though.

I Am Sono Sion!

Ore Wa Sono Sion Da!
1985 / 35m - Japan
I Am Sono Sion! poster

A very early documentary from Sion Sono, where he turns the camera on himself. Don't expect to be informed though, it's really just Sono going crazy with a camera and experimenting away. It's as crazy as you'd expect an early Sono to be, though you have to wonder whether this was ever meant to be released.

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Image and sound quality are absolutely terrible. The grainy cinematography, fuzzy image quality and haphazard camera work are no doubt due to the poor equipment and Sono's own inexperience, some will consider it part of the charm, but I'm not a big fan. It just comes off as very amateurish.

Still, Sono's potential is already clearly visible. There are some strange stop motion bits, exaggerated sound, a lot of random weirdness and Sono himself clowning around. It's an interesting film for fans of the man's work, or people who love crazy and experimental documentaries, just don't expect anything polished.

Virtual Love

2003 / 35m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
Virtual Love poster

An obscure Sono short. I'm not really sure what the idea or concept was here, but this felt considerably more amateurish than its age would suggest. It's probably some special Sono did for TV, but don't expect too much going in. There are slivers of an interesting concept, but Sono does very little with them.

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Virtual Love is about a young girl who starts working as a virtual escort. She takes on clients and spends time with them, making their lives a bit more enjoyable. She gets help from a second girl, teaching her how to act and behave, whilst the whole thing is recorded and can be sold later on.

The titular love is romance, not sex, so don't watch it if that's what you're after. The premise is kinda fun, but the performances are pretty weak and the film looks and sounds terribly cheap. There's not enough time to properly explore the plot, at this point I expect way more from Sono, even (or maybe especially) when it's only a short.

Bicycle Sighs

Jitensha Toiki
1990 / 93m - Japan
Bicycle Sighs poster

Sion Sono didn't take a flying start like some of his peers managed to do. His first few films were rough, crude projects that betrayed his love for the medium, but we're unable to translate that into something watchable. Bicycle Sighs feels like a school project, a spirited attempt to make a proper Japanese drama, though failing to meet basic quality levels.

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Shiro and Keita are two boys who were left behind by their classmates after they failed to get good enough grades on their entrance exams. Shiro doesn't care too much, as he is more interested in finishing their Super-8 film project, but Keita wants to move on with his life. When his former girlfriend returns to town for a visit, he only feels more pressure to succeed.

People familiar with Sono's work will recognize his hand in some scenes, but it's all very basic and preliminary. The drama is interesting enough, but the performances are poor (with Sono taking up the role of Shiro) and the cinematography is appalling. It often feels like you're watching a rough cut that still needs to pass through post-production. Not good.

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

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The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.

Decisive Match! Girls Dorm against Boys Dorm

Kessen! Joshiryou tai Danshiryou
1988 / 90m - Japan
Decisive Match! Girls Dorm against Boys Dorm poster

A very early Sono, to the point where you may wonder whether it was actually a smart idea to release this film commercially. The premise is kinda fun, but the execution is incredibly amateurish. I'm sure most directors had to make films like these to get where they are today, I'm just not sure if the public needs to see them. Of course, nobody is forced to watch anything, just be aware this is not your typical Sono film.

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The plot is pretty simple and the title is quite self-explanatory. There is a feud between an all-male and an all-female dorm, and they like to make each other's lives difficult. A local marathon is fuelling the conflict between the two. The girls have hired outside help to help them win, whereas the boys are recruiting some old members to make sure they have the edge.

The premise leaves ample room for a pleasant comedy, but the quality just isn't there. The film looks like a home video, the performances are weak, and the editing is almost random. There are some interesting ideas, some stylistic elements that made me think of Gakuryu Ishii's early work, and some moments where you could see signs of Sono's later brilliance. But none of it adds up to an enjoyable experience.

A Man's Flower Road

Otoko no Hanamichi
1986 / 110m - Japan
A Man's Flower Road poster

Another Sono film that could be classified as semi-professional. If you're extremely generous you could draw some parallels with Tsukamoto's Tetsuo, but the impact of the two films couldn't be further apart. I found A Man's Flower Road to be quite grating and irritating, a real test of patience that barely hints at the genius hidden inside its creator.

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The film follows a young man as he struggles to cross over into adulthood. He lives in a small house on the outskirts of the city and he still attends college. He fears the life that lies ahead of him and wants to enjoy his freedom while he still can. He roams the streets and makes a ruckus wherever he goes. Whether it's running around naked or making a fuss at a nearby swimming pool party.

There's a lot of raw energy here, it's just a shame that Sono doesn't know how to channel it yet. The performances are a little too energetic, the camera work is a blur and the message gets lost in the process. I still appreciated the dedication and youthful enthusiasm that gushed from every single frame, but it wasn't enough to make this a good film.

Teachers of Sexual Play: Modelling Urns with the Female Body

Seigi no Tatsujin - Nyotai Tsubo Saguri
2000 / 59m - Japan
Teachers of Sexual Play: Modelling Urns with the Female Body poster

Like many of his peers, Sono started out directing pinku films. While the craftier directors tried to look at the niche as a way to experiment without worrying too much about producers breathing down their necks, Sono simply went through the motions, delivering some downright bland films.

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The title gives away the entire plot, of which there isn't much. Namie runs a pottery workshop. It's not just about pots and clay, Namie sees it as a way to teach her pupils about love (and lust). To do that, they have to get pretty intimate with the clay, and eventually, with each other.

I generally try to avoid this niche, unless it's a film by a director I care for. That's about the only reason to watch this, unless you get your kicks for pinku cinema. No plot to speak of and lots of nude women playing around with clay. At least it was short, but even then this felt like it lasted for ages.

Reflect On That Boys

1989 / 41m - Japan
Reflect On That Boys poster

Peculiar timing, but Sion Sono's early (and only) AV film became available just a few weeks ago. It's an extremely bare-bones affair, with virtually no plot and a limited runtime that spans four bouts of sex. There's little here for film fans, only Sono completists (and AV collectors) need to take an interest.

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Two women are candidly talking about their sexual adventures. One girl loves the act and simply wants to have as much sex as possible, only the men don't always please her. Another girl tries to get over the loss of her brother by sleeping around. After each session, they give a short commentary on their experience.

The film looks atrocious, there isn't happening anything except two people having sex and the documentary bits surrounding these scenes add little to nothing. It's one of the worst films Sono has ever made, so thank God it was rather short. It's best to stay away from this altogether, unless you really want to watch everything Sono has ever put out.