Love and Peace
Japanese director Sion Sono comes back to the London Film Festival for a third year in a row with a movie that is definitely going to be remembered as one of the craziest titles in this year’s programme.
Ryoichi (Hiroki Hasegawa) is shy, awkward and clumsy. A laughing stock in the office, unremarkable and insignificant everywhere else, it is only in the safety of his home where he lets himself run wild, forever dreaming of becoming a massive rock star. So far so good: awkward, shy protagonists are something cinema from all corners of the world has proved to love, as the plot follows the ugly duckling on his long but ultimately very rewarding journey to becoming a gorgeous swan. However, this premise is the first and only similarity that can be found to western cinema. After that, everything goes completely bonkers and frankly, the film has to be seen to be believed (granted, lovers of Japanese cinema have probably already seen even weirder stories).
In other words, Ryochi’s life turns upside down from the moment he buys a turtle. Picadon turns into his best friend as Ryochi shares with him his dreams, his love interests, his struggles. But this comes to an end when his colleagues make fun of Picadon, resulting in Ryochi flushing him down the toilet. What happens next? A mix of talking dolls, drunk old men, giant turtles, music concerts, and some very catchy songs.
Love and Peace is a fantasy full of humour: it starts as a music comedy, then briefly turns into a Christmas movie, then into a drama. Sono’s imagination has been given full reign here as crazy plot lines evolve into something even more ridiculous. There is nothing normal about Love and Peace and this is great – such a freedom of imagination is rarely seen in western films, which is a shame because it makes for such a good cinema experience. The plot’s main advantage is that it is is ridiculous and doesn’t make much sense; in its ridiculousness it finds its strength and uses it to make the viewer laugh all the way through. Kudos to Hiroki Hasegawa, who is absolutely hilarious both as awkward Ryoichi and as an ambitious rock star. And kudos to the turtle that reminds the audience once again how much Japanese directors love to imagine giant reptiles disrupting daily life in Tokyo.
Love and Peace does not yet have a UK release date.
Watch the trailer for Love and Peace here:
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