The Japanese New Wave (1956–1976) doesn’t get near the love the French New Wave does in cinephile circles, but that doesn’t make the work any less significant. A key entry, Funeral Parade of Roses (Bara no Sōretsu) from 1969, was recently restored by Cinelicious in 2017 and will screen at the Alamo Drafthouse Littleton on June 16, 4p. For those not in the area, Funeral Parade of Roses is currently streaming on Kanopy.
Mixing documentary and narrative, Funeral Parade is a kaleidoscopic and subversive look at Tokyo’s underground “gay-boy” culture. Writer/director Toshio Matsumoto loosely uses Oedipus Rex as his structure while also relying on experimental filmmaking techniques and Japan’s “New Left” ideology. Stanley Kubrick cites it as one of the major influences of A Clockwork Orange; it shows. And like the best discoveries of yesteryear, Funeral Parade of Roses feels as fresh and vibrant in 2019 as it must have in 1969.