Toshio Matsumoto  

A pioneer in Japanese avant-garde cinema, experimenting often with structure, imagery, cinematography, editing, etc. Mostly made experimental short films, a couple of more conventional movies ('War of the 16 Year Olds' for example is about a young man having an existential crisis haunted by ghosts from the war), and is usually known for 'Funeral Procession of Roses' which inspired Clockwork Orange.

Of Some Interest

Dogura Magura  
Somewhat reminiscent of Memento, only with madness and touches of surrealism, this avant-garde movie tells the tale of a young man who awakens in an insane asylum with no memory, and slowly tries to unravel his past. Murder, an obsession for drawing rotting corpses, a confusing hodgepodge of memories involving various relatives who may or may not have existed, and two doctors, one of which may be dead, both with theories about hereditary madness passing through the genes through multiple generations. The plot starts with a very promising metaphysical exploration of reality, identity and the brain, but disappointingly develops into a more conventional murder mystery with a cliched madness underlying the plot twists. The movie's strength is not the plot however, but in the convoluted structure threaded together with lies, fantasies, hallucinations, identity-crises, and some surrealistic dreams, all masterfully throwing us into the mind of the insane. Good but limited.

Funeral Procession of Roses  
An avant-garde Japanese film that was ahead of its time and pre-dates A Clockwork Orange with its unique style. The story is transvestite melodrama about a club 'madame' who is upstaged by one of his own transvestite employees. This boy has dark memories of a murder in the family told in snippets and flashbacks, but now he leads a gay life (no pun intended) with clubs, drugs, lovers and friends... until the shocking ending. The star isn't the boring story however, but the cinematography and editing. Violence is made cartoonish using sped-up cameras, circus music and balloons coming out of people's mouths, non-sequitur images are cut into the movie at jarring moments, and the stars are suddenly interviewed about their role in the film. This movie makes you feel you took some weed yourself.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents