The one thing that is very clear in Toshio Matsumoto's work is his fascination with the darker side of humanity-subconscious feelings and emotions pertaining to one's psyche and how it relates to family dynamics. Funeral Parade of Roses is as great as I remember in it's unabashed look into the gay/transsexual counterculture of Japan during the 1960s. It's essentially a take on Oedipus Rex about a love triangle between two transvestites (Eddie and Leda), and Gonda, the bar manager which they both desire. There are so many fascination aspects of the film, from the commentary on the "faces" or "masks" that one has to where in society to such an honest, the in-depth look into the past and present emotions of the characters, or just the general cynical nature towards the world and society. Eddie's character is without a doubt the emotional backbone of the film, as I found the sequences documented his/her past childhood to be particularly haunting and affective. The film's narrative is loose, often jumping around in the story, revealing thing's in a way that can only be described as disorienting, though this is clearly with purpose. Lots of Avante-Garde techniques are used-jump cuts, flashbacks, cartoon type bubbles, repeated imagery, sped-up footage and lots of juxtaposition create a unique, frightening and endlessly fascinating experience. In fact, the sped-up footage is what inspired the sex scene in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, so I've been told. I've seen this one three times now, and every time, I seem to come out with some new observation or imagery that gives me more perspective into Matsumoto's vision. This is such a tragic film about Eddie's lack of identity and inability to find solace in a cruel world, with only Gonda, as a the stabilizing force in her life. Although, Shura is probably still my favorite of his films, mainly cause of the streamlined nastiness of it all, I completely understand why this one is considered his masterpiece.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.