Commercial cinema has predictably chosen not to bite the hand that feeds it, so it’s simultaneously inspiring and also kind of embarrassing to see a movie like Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness. Rarely has a mainstream commercial release been as rabid in its attack, and as thoughtful in its critique, of our dystopian mediascape.
It’s as biting a condemnation of fleeting and meaningless celebrityhood as anything produced in Hollywood, and one of Suzuki’s most successful fusions of his chaotic style with a script that supports those visual ambitions.
Blacklisted by the Japanese studio system for a decade, director Seijun Suzuki returned to theatrical filmmaking in 1977 with this lurid, highly entertaining melodrama. . . . Suzuki employs his trademark disorienting montage, with jarring close-ups and unexpected transitions between scenes, and for once the stylization inspires sympathy with the protagonist rather than emotional detachment. The colors are decadent and loud, giving this the air of a Technicolor musical.