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COLD FISH

Director: SION SONO

144 minutes| Japan| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

As he showed in his previous magnum opus Love Exposure, maverick director Sion Sono is a man unafraid to mash-up shocks, sex and ultra-black humour if it serves his purpose of revealing the pressure points in Japanese society. Inspired by the real-life exploits of a serial-killing provincial couple, he’s created his own fake case-study in which a meek tropical-fish salesman is inveigled into going along with a loudmouth rival’s murderous schemes because the killer exploits the former’s troubled relationship with his teenage daughter and lubricious second wife. It all gets very, very messy, and is certainly not a film for the squeamish, yet there’s some serious moral probing amid the carnage as Sono explores the tensions between self-denying, law-abiding conformity and the thrill of convention-busting criminality.
The anti-establishment spirit of his esteemed countryman, the great Shohei Imamura, is still vibrant here, in a film which honours the reputation of producers Nikkatsu as Japan’s prime purveyors of artistically valid sleaze. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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