An inverted retelling of Sophocle’ Oedipus, Funeral Parade of Roses has become a landmark in Gay Japanese Cinema. Eddie (geddit?), a transvestite living in Tokyo makes her money at a gay bar and has begun an affair with this boss. This has created an awkward situation with the boss’s ‘wife’ who runs the club and has become increasingly jealous and antagonistic towards Eddie.  Something from Eddie’s past is also haunting her and will turn out to have major repercussions for herself and others.

Funeral Parade of Roses is notable for its explicit detailing of 1960s gay life in Tokyo. Eddie and her friends have wild parties where they take drugs and discuss avant-garde films from America whilst watching distorted pictures of the student riots on the TV. The films even breaks with its narrative to interview various people, including a couple of the the actors, about gay life.

This is just one of many of the post-modern techniques that Matsumoto employs, often breaking up the narrative with vox pop sessions, inserted signs etc. He often repeats scenes or sections of scenes and sometimes breaks them off only to return at exactly that point later on. The overall timeline of the plot only becomes clear near the end when you’re able to piece these scenes together into a coherent narrative. An important and influential film, Funeral Parade of Roses is a must for fans of Japanese Cinema.

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