There is a lot in Eros + Massacre that I think is ideal cinema, though it does not seem to be able to decide whether it is a slow art house movie, a crazy surreal art house movie, or soft core porn, I think that's absolutely charming. Perhaps I should explain the "plot."

The movie is centered on the the life story of an actual Japanese anarchist that lived around the turn of the century (19th to 20th). It is intercut with the "story" of 2 college age kids in late 60's Japan. The anarchist talks a lot about annoying social theory, which allows him to get away with having a wife and two girlfriends and telling them that everyone is "free." He also is dependent on one of the girlfriends for money, but they're all radical feminist/anarchists, so they only kinda mind. In the end though, he decides to run off with the girlfriend who doesn't pay for his living, the other girlfriend finds them, and then there's a long scene where he gets killed or not killed by different women several times. Earlier in the movie you see him getting assassinated by government goons, which is how the guy (and his girlfriend) died in real life.

This is cross-cut with a guy and a girl acting crazy. The 60's in Japan were generally a crazy time, and universities were always getting attacked by riot squads with gas bombs (my Japanese teacher was in the middle of one of these), and people kept on joining radical organization, and so on and so forth. These kids are caricatures of Japanese students at the time, the girl seems to prostitute herself from time to time (it was a general policy in Japanese film studios at this time to never make a movie without a lot of nudity in it), and the guy is always around her, even while she's having sex with other men, the other men don't seem to mind though. Most of the time though, the two of them are running and screaming, and discussing the life of this anarchist, and various things that sound like social theory but probably aren't.

So, if I explained this film well enough (which I probably didn't), you'll notice that its a rather surrealistic celebration of anarchy, included with lots of boring discussions about anarchy. A somewhat appropriate film for the time when the Japanese New Wave was interacting with pink films (my favorite other example of this is Branded to Kill), not to mention a wonderful title.

But was sex and nonsense a recipe for success? Quite simply, the film disrupts our understanding of how a "story" works. The plot is really centered around two individuals discussing how a real life story "should" have happened, and because of cinema it did happen, in a strange acted way. The death of all these anarchists happened half a dozen times, but they never actually happened in the movie. All of the characters can become disconnected from time, and all the characters can freely disconnect themselves from common social mechanisms. The characters are in themselves just "ideas," trying to present a vision of freedom in a "free" space (cinema). The freedom they are desiring is largely a sexual one, but in the widest possible sense, in the surrealist sense where desire is a logic that is above the logic of perception (think Dali). The only way they can do that is by living in the world of film, where secondary logical patterns are quite often substitutable for primary logical patterns.

Of course the 60's showed us that film and real life aren't necessarily that far apart.

I plan on writing a post this weekend about my secret affection for soft core porn, look forward to it.

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