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Film / Love Exposure

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From top to bottom: Yu, Yoko, Koike

Love Exposure is a 2008 film by Shion Sono of Suicide Club fame. It clocks at in three minutes shy of four hours long. It focuses on the themes of family, love, lust, religion, and upskirt photography.

The film follows Yu Honda, a Catholic teenager in Japan, whose mother tells him to find a woman like the Virgin Mary before her death. His father Tetsu later becomes a priest, and the two live a seemingly peaceful life until a woman who comes to their church falls in love with Tetsu and shakes his confidence in doing his job. After she leaves, Tetsu makes Yu come to confession daily. As Yu believes himself to be a good person, he has very little to confess, so he makes up small sins. After this approach fails to appease his father, he begins to purposely commit sins to appease his father. This leads to him associating with gang members, learning to fight and commit crimes, until eventually he becomes involved in upskirt photography.


And that's barely even the first half-hour.

Sono had made a two-hour long cut of the film to appease his producer, but the numerous cuts to the story made for some confusing plot holes. The original cut was six hours long. The four-hour long final cut was meant as a compromise.

The film gained a certain amount of notoriety throughout festivals both for its length and for its irreverent handling of religion. The film has gathered numerous awards, most notably the FIPRESCI Prize and the Caligari Film Award at the Berlin International Film festival.


This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Chivalrous Pervert: Played with. Yu partakes in upskirt photography but not for personal pleasure. The same goes for his "pervert priest" act.
  • Disguised in Drag: Yu dresses up as Lady Scorpion after losing a bet to his friends.
  • Driven to Madness: Yu by the end of the film, as well as arguably Aoike. (She arguably started off mad.)
  • Freudian Excuse: Yoko and Koike both had unpleasant relationships with their fathers.
  • Genre Whiplash: A very relentless example, switching between romance, comedy, action, drama, satire, and gangster movie.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Senpai's name seems to be actually Senpai. Even people completely unrelated to the gang call him that.
  • Japanese Christian: All of the film's main characters in their demented fashion.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Yuu's friends Takahiro, Tag Yuji, and Senpai are shown to be part of a bosozoku gang, even though they don't ride bikes themselves. Unusually for fictional delinquents, they are actually shown committing (petty) crimes.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Even cooler than Kurt Cobain, according to Yoko.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Yu's weapon of choice when he decides to take on Zero once and for all.
  • Odd Friendship: Develops between Yuu and the Plucky Comic Relief delinquents (Senpai, Takahiro, and Tag Yuji) he meets knocking over a vending machine. He's into sin and they find his philosophy on life funny. Despite their initial meeting, their friendship grows to be one of the most heartwarming and enduring relationships in the movie.
  • Panty Shot: Justified. Considering that the main character partakes in upskirt photography, a few of these are pretty much a given.
  • Sticky Fingers: Tag Yuji's nickname comes from never cutting the tags or coupons off the clothes he shoplifts.


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