Love Exposure a.k.a. Ai No Mukidashi
Positives:It's 4 hours long so you get a lot of bang for your buck
Negatives:It really is 4 hours long...
If originality is at the top of your list then this is off the charts
GIVE IT TO ME
Love Exposure ( or Ai No Mukidashi ) is a very unique teen love/comedy type flick that centres around 3 characters: Yu, the son of a recently broken-hearted priest obsessed with hearing confession; Koike, the cocaine-dealing-overpriced-religious-artifacts-selling regional leader of a church-like cult named Church Zero; and Yoko, the step-daughter of the woman who dumped the priest, who demolishes houses part-time and tolerates only one man in her life: the notorious singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain.
On a fateful day Yu, master of the mystical Japanese art of Tosatsu ( which is the ability to stealthily take an up-skirt shot of a girl’s panties ) and leader of a 4-man Tosatsu team loses a bet to one of his disciples… The result? Humiliation. Dressed in drag clothes, he must declare his love to a girl he likes! Having searched in vain all his life for his “Maria” Yu, now disguised as Miss Scorpion and on the prowl, rescues a young girl who is about to be attacked. Could this be it? Could this be love? Could this young damsel in distress be his long awaited “Maria”?
Fate thrusts our hero into the arms of the beautiful Yoko and he instantly falls for her but Yoko, who hates all men safe for one ( who’s been dead since 1994 by the way ), falls for Miss Scorpion. In comes Koike. Convinced she can use Yu‘s father’s congregation to her cult’s advantage, she devises a plan to seduce Yoko in order to gain access to Yu’s family and in the process… develops a crush on him.
I have to say there’s something alarmingly charming about Takahiro Nishijima‘s character Yu. He made me chuckle quite a few times in the beginning of the story. Having to invent crimes and sins in order to satisfy his dad made me crack up. Even his dad is funny as hell in the beginning. Then there’s Yu’s new found crew that light up the screen whenever they’re all together. Tai-chi Tosatsu is so hilarious.
There is a lot of religious content in this movie but I don’t think it’s meant to be taken seriously, the characters all seemed caricatured after all. Surprises are abound , for example there’s a healthy dose of drama in there too. At some point in the story, every character of note starts to feel more real to me ( hard-ons excluded ). The beautiful Hikari Mitsushima plays an angst-ridden teen to perfection while Sakura Ando is both simultaneously desirable and creepy. Being beaten by her dad while screaming: “Give it to me! Give it to me!” is a memorable moment.
The music is a weird blend of classical and pop songs. Beethoven’s symphony no.7 is not something you would ever imagine being in a film like this but strangely enough it works. The fact that only a small segment of music is played at any given time prevents the watcher/audience from ever questioning the musical choices made by director Sion Sono ( I am personally not a big fan of Japanese pop music but I didn’t mind ). The timing of the music is perfect and it always feels like it’s adding something to the scene rather than taking something away from it. The camera work is fine, although you get a sense that budget restrictions might have influenced the quality of the equipment.
From beginning to end originality is key. I mean you’ll go from cut off penises to religious fervour in the blink of a eye. Sword fights with gallons and gallons of blood, insane asylums with armed visitors, brainwashing, girls making out, perverts with bombs, a school bus used as a jail cell, uncontrollable erections, parental abuse, catholic hypocrisy and so on and so on…There is so much stuff in this 4-hour long film to keep you entertained that it reminded me of an ice cream parlour: There’s literally a flavour for everyone!
When I decided to watch “Love Exposure” I could never have anticipated how much fun it was going to be. Everything about this movie srceams entertainment. I had read somewhere that this was Sono’s masterpiece. While I do agree with that statement I would also add “imperfect”. It’s an imperfect masterpiece. There are indeed many flaws in “Ai No Mukidashi” but ultimately I left my seat smiling and satisfied. And that’s what it’s all about.
TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fxa5NuVrqULove Exposure a.k.a. Ai No Mukidashi,