Tonkei shinjû – Pig Chicken Suicide (1981)

Director: Yoshihiko Matsui
Starring: Naomi Hagio, Takahiro Hattori, Toshihiko Hino .Japan. 1h 31m

Like a rare and obscure borja wine, the history of Yoshihiko Matsui’s film making is sporadic but filled with really unusual gems, with themes of suicide, the understanding of love blended with cannibalism and genuine strange behavior you’ll always know who you”re watching and often question why you’re still watching. For me this unreal expression is one of the blessings of cinema, seeing something genuinely new that is al altered, heightened sense of the world around you. At times you’ll almost be able to feel Matsui’s message through the combination of imagery, a feeling of an idea that doesn’t need language for expression, or you might be left scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on.

As with each installment, Matsui seems to find a new path to the heart, and our struggle to understand love and it’s meaning, in Noisy Requiem (1988) his characters struggle to understand love and turn to cannibalism. In his most recent movie Where are we Going (2008) the narrative follows the life of a man who cannot love, but the breakthrough came when Tonkei Shinju, a Korean couple, once deeply in love moved to Japan to work in a slaughterhouse. You’ll be forgiven if you miss the follow parts of the plot through the schizophrenic MTV channel hopping style between people doing weird things, the slaughtering of random animals, people pretending to be chickens, scary people wearing masks jumping out of dark alleyways and the burning of goats, but the movie, is about the breakdown of this couples relationship due to the a disgusting intense racial and social difficulties. You’ll probably be more shocked by the content, strange voyeuristic camera techniques and hodgepodge of connecting scenes.

It’s as gory as it is confusing, and as bold as it is brave. It’s not often that a director will pick out the wrose of his countries culture and shock an audience into feeling a sense of PTSD in the process of explaining the emotions tied up with being a foreigner to that country, the only other project I can feel that was a brazen is possibly the Serbian Film () but that is, much to everyone’s disgust a bit more of a put together movie, less experimental and straight to the point. Where as Pig-chicken Suicide takes all the more questionable parts of Tetsuo and Ichi the killer together and blows them up in a meth lab, if you ever wondered where bizarre Japanese cinema originated, I’d say there’s a lot of homage to Matsui in each gore fest that will have your granny clutching her pearls and reaching for her bible, and sadly the social commentary will either be missed or quickly forgotten.

Rating: 7/10


Related: Kuso (2017), Noisy Requiem (1988), Crazy Thunder Road (1980), Slaughtered Vomit Dolls (2006)
Lists: Surreal Sinema, Did an animal die?


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