“It imparts the thrill of witnessing the hedonism and lawlessness—both sexual and artistic—of a bygone culture. You also feel an almost tragic surge of melancholia watching it: where and when, you wonder, will cinema ever get quite this wild again?”
Passion, ego and revenge abound in Club Genet when a wild love triangle erupts between a beautiful young hostess, the club’s owner and its reigning queen. Cited by Stanley Kubrick as a direct influence on A Clockwork Orange, Toshio Matsumoto’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Tokyo’s gay counterculture continues to be one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s.
Transgender actor Peter (from Akira Kurosawa’s Ran) gives an astonishing Warholian-like performance in the lead role of Eddie. Whether laughing with drunken businessmen, eating ice cream with her girlfriends or fighting in the streets with a local girl gang, Eddie is something to behold. “She has bad manners, all she knows is coquetry,” complains her rival Leda – but in fact, Eddie’s bad manners are simply being too gorgeous for this world. Her bell bottom pants, black leather jacket and Brian Jones hair-do is a direct threat to the social order, both in Club Genet and the streets of Tokyo.
Freely mixing documentary interviews, film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, Funeral Parade of Roses is the singular vision of Toshio Matsumoto, one of Japan’s leading experimental post-war artists.
Fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara, Funeral Parade of Roses offers a frank, openly erotic portrait of an underground community of artists and drag queens. Featuring breathtaking black-and-white cinematography by Tatsuo Suzuki, the film has been lovingly restored from the original 35mm camera negative.
In Sydney and want to see the film? Head along to Golden Age Cinema.