Funeral Parade of Roses Screen 92 of 9 reviews

Funeral Parade of Roses

1969

Funeral Parade of Roses Poster
  • Much of the movie leaves us in Eddie’s head as she relives a cluster of agonizing recollections from childhood: her mother laughing at her when Eddie asks about her father; Eddie finding her mother entangled with a lover on the floor; the first time her mother caught Eddie putting on lipstick. That these three memories focus on Eddie’s mother should alert you to the Oedipal themes that thunder throughout this heated and beautiful spectacle.

  • Masumoto understands the sensual pleasures of putting on and taking off a mask... Once nearly impossible to see, Funeral Parade of Roses is a dizzying pop experimental epic that bounds off the screen and screams to be heard.

  • A heady affair, especially when seen in our aesthetically and politically conservative times. 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?

  • Both transgender and transgenre, Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses, his first feature, updates Oedipus Rex by way of high-modernist Euro cinema, low melodrama, and avant-garde documentary. Playing at the Quad in a shimmering 4K restoration, this monochrome, maximalist enigma takes place largely in the drag-queen bars of Tokyo.

  • The film was all but unprecedented in Japanese cinema for its (male) homoeroticism, and this trait only helped to make it more controversial at home. But in spite of these potentially dating aspects, this remains powerful filmmaking to many contemporary viewers.

  • This film has a slender narrative involving a club owner and various drag queens, two of whom are his lovers, competing to be the main hostess. Matsumoto mixes documentary footage (student demonstrations, interviews with queens) and self-referential gestures (we see the cast and crew at work) to create a near anarchic form that challenges authority.

  • Mr. Matsumoto’s film is tastefully outré. It’s also quite witty. “She loved roses, and they had to be artificial,” someone remarks after the death of Eddie’s precursor at the Club Genet. “Funeral Parade of Roses” may be dated, but its charms have scarcely wilted.

  • Dense, frantic, and patently unclassifiable, the film is besotted with the decimation of binary strictures, a mission it pursues to extreme formal and narrative ends, sometimes to its own detriment.

  • The fact that its dialogue namechecks Jonas Mekas, Che Guevara, and Jean Genet may give you some idea where director Toshio Matsumoto's formal and political allegiances lie. Don't blink, or you'll miss the instant when street-level journalism gives way to avant-garde theater.

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