“There’s mass confusion on the platform. This is unprecedented.”
Last night I watched Sion Sono’s best known film, Suicide Club. My growing infatuation with Love Exposure, which played at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival earlier this month, inspired me to seek out his other films in search for his unique brand of absurdism and passion. Suicide Club is difficult to watch, and perhaps even more difficult to decipher. It seems heavily ingrained in Japanese culture, and it’s cross-over to North America is no doubt linked to its unforgettable violent creativity, which will no doubt remain unmatched for a while, at least in my own film viewings. The images though stand on their own with their disturbing violence and off-putting enthusiasm. Each scene of blood and gore is tinted with a sort of lightness that is even more alienating. The suicides are, for the most part, not inspired by anguish or hopelessness, but a deeper sense of meaning and self-understanding, as well as a “light” playfulness. This lightness is enhanced by the superficiality of their actions that are seemingly inspired by the monotony of group-thinking and empty pop cultural icons. The film offers some interesting, though perhaps, underdeveloped philosophical musings on interconnectedness. This ties into the commentary on pop culture, as the individual is eliminated, for better and worse. The film is less concerned with how every action has a reaction, but how we create and define our own identities, and even whether or not existing as an individual is important.