The Sion Sono

Sion Sono is one of Japan’s most daring and prolific filmmakers, having directed 14 feature films since 2010 alone after getting his start in the 8mm punk filmmaking scene in the mid-1980s. Famous for such audacious transmissions as Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010), and Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013), among many others, Sono’s worldview skews twisted, poetic, at times extreme, but always deeply engaging. With The Sion Sono, Arata Oshima (son of perhaps the most audacious and confrontational of Japanese filmmakers, Nagisa Oshima) weaves a deft portrait of Sono during the production of 2015’s The Whispering Star, illuminating Sono’s many sides: poet, painter, husband, theorist, chain smoker, and agitator. But what emerges is not so much a messy view into the life of a multi-faceted master; instead, we see a man for whom life is art, and art is life, the two absolutely inseparable. “Sion Sono has already established himself as one of the most idiosyncratic artists of his generation, with nearly 50 films of various genres—rite-of-passage stories fuelled with social transgressions, all-out sex-and-gore thrillers, hip-hop musicals and warm human drama—and Arata Oshima’s documentary has vividly revealed how there’s much more to the one cult-figure persona which seems to precede his films’ presence at home and abroad.”—Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Appears in: Japanese Currents

Genres: Documentary