The Village Voice, “The Restoration Revolution”

Another mighty brick of excavated cine-miracles: Arrow Films’ pink house of Japanese avant-gardism, Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism. Yoshida was one of the major Sixties New Wave bomb throwers, though his movies for some reason never exported like Oshima’s or Imamura’s. His keynote epic Eros + Massacre (1969) would’ve certainly posed a challenge — at three and a half hours, it’s a monster of an experiment, dovetailing the tale of fin de siècle anarchist/free love doyen Sakae Osugi with the young radicalized lovers in 1969 Japan failing to find a shared morality in a crazy modern world. It’s a ball-busting trip, full of youthful anarchistic cant and literary declaration (a la Godard), and shot in Yoshida’s trademark style, all inky black-and-white images of extreme angles, forever corridors, off-balance compositions, absurd perspectives, and voguing tableaux. The effect is like being trapped at an ultracool mescaline party with sexually hyperactive grad students for whom every gesture is catastrophic.

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