Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 8th, 2018
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1969
Director: Toshio Matsumoto
Writer: Toshio Matsumoto
Cast: Pîtâ, Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshimi Jô, Koichi Nakamura, Flamenco Umeji, Saako Oota, Tarô Manji, Toyosaburo Uchiyama, Mikio Shibayama, Wataru Hikonagi, Fuchisumi Gomi, Chieko Kobayashi, Yô Satô, Keiichi Takenaga
BluRay released: November 14th, 2017
Approximate running times: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Japanese
BluRay Release: Cinelicious Pics
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.99
Funeral Parade of Roses was the feature film debut of Toshio Matsumoto, an avant-garde filmmaker whose films firmly fit into Japanese New Wave cinema that rose to prominence in the early 1950’s. And though his career spanned four decades. He would only direct three feature films. With the bulk of his filmography consisting of short films.
Content wise, Funeral Parade of Roses features a non-conventional narrative. And nowhere is more evident, then the moments where actors in character break the fourth wall. And the story at hand is told in a documentary style, that is reminiscent to Italian neorealism.
Though the cast of mostly comprised on actors, who were linked to Tokyo’s transvestite community. There is an authenticity to their performances, that makes the story at hand all the more powerful. With this film’s greatest asset being Pîtâ’s (Ran) performance in the role of this film’s protagonist Eddie. Another performance of note is Yoshio Tsuchiya (Frankenstein Conquers the World) in the role of Gonda, the owner of the underground nightclub that Eddie works at as a hostess.
From a production standpoint, this film achieves all of its goals. And when it comes to the visuals, there is never a shortage of striking moments. With this film saving its most shocking moments visually, for its Oedipus Rex finale.
Funeral Parade of Roses comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. For this released a brand new 4K restoration was created from this film’s original 35mm camera negative. The image looks superb throughout. Grain remains intact, details look crisp, there are no issues with compression, contrast and black levels are consistently solid.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Japanese with removable English subtitles. The audio is in great shape, there are no issues with distortion or background noise, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for Funeral Parade of Roses include, the film’s original 1969 Japanese theatrical trailer (3 minutes 31 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles), U.S. theatrical trailer (2 minutes 16 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles) and audio commentary with Chris D., author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film.
Included with this release is a second Blu-ray (single layer). This disc includes, eight short films also directed by Toshio Matsumoto, The Weavers of Nishijin (24 minutes 55 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles), The Song of Stone (24 minutes 29 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles), Ecstasis (11 minutes 8 seconds), Metastasis (8 minutes 9 seconds), Expansion (14 minutes 7 seconds), Mona Lisa (3 minutes 2 seconds), Siki soku ze ku (7 minutes 47 seconds) and Atman (11 minutes 49 seconds).
Rounding out the extras is a sixteen-page booklet with an essay titled Toshio Matsumoto: The Shape of the Avant-Garde written by Hirofumi Sakamoto with Hiroshi Eguchi and Koji Kawasaki and information about the restoration / transfer. This booklet also provides information about Funeral Parade of Roses and the eight short films included as a part of this release. Overall Funeral Parade of Roses gets an exceptional release from Cinelicious Pics, highly recommended.