“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”
- Roger Ebert
I agree. Sion Sono’s 2009 cult film Love Exposure is 4 hours of gripping story, setting the bar high for all films for me. Since watching Love Exposure, I find it difficult to enjoy a majority of films.
I’ve been holding off on this review because I want the review to justify Love Exposure’s greatness. Love Exposure is such an incredible film because it had me at the edge of my seat, gripped and tensed throughout the whole time. And when it was over, I cried because I had been taken through a long journey and found home at last. In some ways, I also felt empty. I don’t recall a film ever inducing me to tears as much as Love Exposure did, nor have I ever felt such a connection with the characters. No film ever had me tense the whole time. Love Exposure was amazing– every second of the 4 hours. Most films have scenes that bore me or makes me wish it would pass faster. Love Exposure didn’t. In some ways, I feel as if I shouldn’t like or rave about this film otherwise people will look at me with disgust but this is the sole purpose Sono tries to object.
In Love Exposure, Sion Sono covers the taboos of sexuality created by social institutions such as religion. Love Exposure follows three marginalized teens as they go on a journey seeking normalcy. Love Exposure is pure story. Sion Sono proves that a well written story will make a great film despite low quality camera and visuals. Apparently, Sono stated in interviews that he wanted to produce an A+ B film, meaning, a B film at its best. I wonder what the results would be if Sono had aimed for an A film with better cinematics.
I felt as if Sono had read my teenage blogs and journals, or somehow had gotten a glimpse inside my teenage angst mind. I found Yoko and her thoughts, her ways of dealing with her emotional pain and scars similar to mine. She was the character I connected with and understood best. I even had only two men that I loved in my young adult years: one a singer inspired by Jesus or just very spiritual (Jason Mraz) and the masculine, legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Even the scene of watching rhythmic sea waves coming ashore is something I could, would and like to do to sooth my tumultuous heart.
Most of all, I was introduced to a new concept, or old concept I had forgotten but looked at with new eyes: the most beautiful delivery of Corinthians 13. Like Yoko, I held fast onto it without properly understanding and not seeing my faults. Only later on when I have reached a sense of content did it make sense to me, and understood myself.
I believe Sion Sono is a master of human behavior and the human condition. I attribute this to his background as a poet. He articulates visually how emotions affect people’s behaviors which drives the film’s plot forward. He also shows the psychology behind his characters in a way that makes sense.
The only downside to this film is, people who had really normal lives may not understand the actions of the character and touts that those actions don’t make sense.
Other than that, this film deserves cult film of the decade for 2000-2010. Love Exposure won several awards but I feel love exposure should’ve gone to Cannes.
Warning: do not watch with kids or your parent around! Film contains several uncomfortable scenes but no nudity.