Sion Sono's "Himizu" (1/23, 7:30pm)

Full-throttle gonzo auteur Sion Sono turns his signature urgency up to 11 in this blinding aneurysm of a film, a star-crossed teenage Greek tragedy that redefines resilience in the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami disaster. Fifteen-year-old Yuichi (Shôta Sometani) does his best to deflect the blows of his ruined family and the stalker-caliber crush of manic pixie nightmare Keiko (Fumi Nikaidô)– but normalcy eludes him with Euripidean relentlessness as he navigates a world that crushes every strain of hope under piles of untenable personal turmoil and escalating natural and nuclear disasters. Based on the popular manga of the same name, Sono’s film exudes a near-Zulawskian level of apoplectic emotional fervor, matching the strife found within the real-life settings of a decimated rural Japanese landscape, and the über-angst of teenagers with no way out. As with his other recent films, the stylistic choices — from the convulsive performances demanded of the film’s gifted young duo (who jointly won the 2011 Venice Film Festival’s “Best New Young Actor” award), to the elegant strains of Mozart and Barber accompanying so much of the intensity — result in a viewing experience befitting of one of the world’s greatest living directors.
Dir. Sion Sono, 2011, digital presentation, 129 min.

Watch the trailer for “Himizu”!
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