Bara no Sôretsu
1969 / 105m - Japan
Funeral Parade of Roses poster


January 08, 2021


A film with a reputation. It reportedly inspired Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and it stands as one of the highlights of the Japanese New Wave, up there with the best films of Wakamatsu. The other Matsumoto I watched also left me quite impressed, so I definitely looked forward to this one.

And the film doesn't disappoint. There's a simple narrative that lies beneath all the weirdness, about two gays/drag queens who fight for the romantic attention of their boss, but that seems little more than an excuse for some joyful experimentation. In other words, don't expect an easy film.

Matsumoto doesn't seem bound by genres, styles or conventions. He includes interviews with the cast, switches to segments with hyper editing, there's some slapstick, a little hippie partying and a rather horrific ending. The overwhelmingly white cinematography feels fresh too and there's plenty of imagery that lingers longs after the end credits have faded. Good stuff, just a tad long and a bit too uneven.