Friday, 3 April 2015
Strange Circus (5 Stars)
What if everything that we experience is an illusion, and only what we write is reality?
Taeko is one of Japan's top authors. She is writing a book about a 12-year-old girl called Mitsuko who is sexually abused by her father and physically abused by her mother. A young man called Yuji who works at a publishing house is sent to Taeko to find out if the story is autobiographical.
The film takes place on several different levels of reality. Right up to the end the viewer isn't told what is fiction and what is reality. And even then questions are left unanswered. Imagine an author writing his life story. He may have forgotten how things happened, but he writes them in his book as he incorrectly remembers them, and then the readers assume that it's true. And what if the author deliberately changes facts? The reader is made to believe something that isn't true. The question is, does what is written become the truth by the act of writing it down? The words of an author last longer than his life, so they become reality in the eyes of future readers.
This is a very unsettling film from the Japanese director Sion Sono. It has similarities with Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange", but it's darker and more perverse. It's not a film that I expect everyone to like. The scene where Mitsuko is being hit by her mother is very disturbing. Nevertheless, it's a film worth watching.