Friday, 3 July 2015

Strange Circus (5 Stars)

I've watched this film a few times, but every time I return to it it still shocks me. Maybe it even shocks me more with repeated viewing, because the utter evil of it sinks in more. The 12-year-old girl Mitsuko is abused by her parents; sexually abused by her father and physically abused by her mother. This has far-reaching consequences in the future lives of all three people. As we can expect from director Sion Sono, the consequences are exaggerated. Scenes of madness ensue. But at its core this is a story that every person who has ever been abused by his or her parents can relate to. Nothing is ever the same. No amount of therapy can make a normal life possible.

This isn't a film for the faint-hearted. It's dark and disturbing, but it holds an addictive beauty. In an interview in the DVD's extra features Sion Sono says, "All Japanese films are downers". That's too strong as a generalisation, but "Strange Circus" is certainly a downer.

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