Friday, March 19, 2010

Love Exposure/AI no Mukidashi spoiler ramblings

Pretty sure its suppose to symbolise religion crushing the family.

I still can't get Love Exposure out of my head. Its the sort of movie that takes time to digest. Love Exposure has not business being that good of a movie. Its a four hour movie filled with panchira, fanservice and fighting. Your classic recipe for your fun B grade jmovie. However, Love Exposure is more than that. Underneath the mountain of pantsu is a story. A story that makes sense. A story not to try to hold all the fanservice scenes together but rather it is the fanservice that serves the story. I didn't go too much into the story in my review cause I didn't want to spoil the movie. Now I just want to look at the story and themes that the director, Sono Shion wanted to get into. So don't read unless you've watched it.

Ok, maybe I wanted to write more so I could post more pictures of Mitsushima Hikari.

Love Exposure is a story about repression/control by fathers/religion. Yu is pretty much a good kid. Your typical nice guy shounen. However, when Yu's father, Tetsu's affair ended, he was overwhelmed by guilt. He did not know how to handle the fact that he had betrayed his vocation. That he had failed. So Tetsu turned hi frustrations on Yu. Yu was the perfect son but Tetsu wanted to prove/show that no one was sinless. I think he wanted to feel better about his affair by magnifying Yu's imperfections. The more Tetsu got Yu to confess his sins, the smaller his betrayal would seem to become. Perhaps it was Tetsu's way of telling Yu that it was ok to sin. To not hate him for his failure.

Except he didn't expect Yu to embrace sin. Yu doesn't embrace sin directly. Rather it was borne from his desire to reach out to Tetsu and make him respond as a father. His enjoyment of tousatsu was not because of lust but because he was good at it and it evoked his father's anger. If the purpose of his sinning was not because of lust but a pure motive, is it still sin?

This would make a great calender photo...

Contrast Yu's response to his domineering father to Aya's. Aya's father physically abused her and she responded by self mutilation. In order words, she hated herself and probably blamed herself for it. Symbolised by the bird in the cage, she is stuck in the prison of hatred that her father created for her. That is why she was drawn to the Zero Church. She believed her father's words that she was a vile creature and set out to corrupt others. There is no way out for her. That's why Aya targeted Yu.

Cutest Maria-sama ever...

Aya wanted Yu to experience what she had experienced. She wanted to destroy him to prove that any person who had her experience would become what she had become. She had no desire to escape from her cage but rather wanted to put someone else in it. That would be her final victory.

Hhmm, the bird is always snuggling in Aya cleavage...

Yoko also had an abusive father, though not of the religious variety. She resented him for his womanising ways and his lust for her created in her a hatred for men. Her meeting with Sasori gave her a way out. Compared to Yu who faced his father head on and Aya who spiraled into self destruction, Yoko wanted to numb the pain. She wanted to ignore it by channeling all her anger into demolishing houses and beating up guys. Yoko was happy to be brainwashed by the Zero Church because it allowed her to shut down and not have to deal with her anger and resentment.

Yoko is looking for love but is afraid of it. That's why she wanted Kaori to be her friend and not her mom. So she would not have to deal with betrayal and disappointment. Not having known love, she mistakenly believes that what the Zero Church offered her was love. That the shutting down of her mind and heart was an act of benevolence. Contrast that with Yu's life long quest in search of his Maria-sama. He knew what he wanted and knew straight away Yoko was his Maria.

I think the purpose of Yoko's recital of Corinthians 13 to Yu was to tell him she had found what she was looking for. It was a description of fairy tale love. Love that would never betray or hurt her again. Yoko was telling Yu that it was something that he could never offer her. That he would be the last person to ever betray her again.

Yu decides to risk it all to rescue Yoko and in the end loses his mind when Yoko tries to strangle him to death. Its when he realises that his love would not be enough to save Yoko. Aya's plan finally comes to fruition and she runs the katana through herself. She has successfully destroyed Yu and now she can finally end her suffering. Thank god for the happy ending because I was really dreading one of those everybody goes to hell endings normally reserved for softcore movies.

I like how they equate the Zero Church is equated with the fathers in this movie. Like Aya's dad, members of the church are mentally beaten down until they believe they lose all value of their self worth. Their self righteous attitude is not as honest as those of a hentai. There was an attempt to contrast church and the hentai jamboree. The only thing I got out of that was that everyone is looking for salvation but religion teaches that salvation is through denying oneself. Like how Yu's constant erections around Yoko is treated as a bad thing. Instead it was confirmation of his pure love for Yoko and enabled him to move mountains to save her.


Harle said...

Thank God someone wrote this review. I was trying to understand what the movie was about and finally everything sort of make sense especially why Aya committed suicide. Indeed a movie with strong acting for such difficult characters. Cheers!

Akiramike said...

There are so many themes/issues running through this movie its just inconceivable someone can put it all together into a coherent script.

Rob said...

"I think the purpose of Yoko's recital of Corinthians 13 to Yu was to tell him she had found what she was looking for. It was a description of fairy tale love. Love that would never betray or hurt her again. "

My take on that terrific scene was that it was intended ironically. The point being that Yoko is lecturing Yu about the true value of love but it's her, she's the one in danger of losing that priceless thing because of a harsh childhood & the brainwashing of a religious cult. She talks about love but to me she obviously does not understand it. That's why at the end of the film she says to Yu that she didn't understand before.

That aside the scene is the most important in the whole 4 hrs of Love Exposure since it represents the clearest expression of the story's main theme. It's a marvellous scene & it gives me chills just watching it but as much as I enjoyed reading your interpretation I respectfully disagree with it. Great review, btw!

maiku said...

I finally got around to watching this. I would've done it in one straight sitting if I hadn't started it so damn late. Amazing that 4 hrs can fly by like that. Wikipedia says it was originally 6 hrs. Unreal.

Nice analysis. I'm still in the 'digesting' stage. I appreciate the fact that they pointed out many of the contradictions of religion without taking too many cheap stabs or bashing it outright. For instance, you could argue Yu was a victim of Christianity, or just a victim of his father's weakness and doubt. The same could be said for Aya's father.

I found he scene where Yoko finds Yu in the mental hospital and recognizes his sacrifice to be quite powerful. For a minute I thought they were just going to leave him there. Glad they pulled back from a tragic ending.

Frankly the Corinthians scene didn't move me as much as the later scenes. It didn't seem to go anywhere and it felt conveniently ambiguous. The sort of thing one might include to seem profound while staying noncommittal. I found it so open to interpretation that it ended up being more confusing than anything else.

I'll have to give it another watch sometime. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Sophia said...

Good analysis! I didn't catch the metaphor of the bird in the cage in relation to Aya. I also didn't realize Aya's mission was to destroy Yu and once Yu lost it, her mission was over hence she committed suicide.

maiku: Corinthians made sense to me because it showed the whole purpose of the film's message. It also showed how Yoko confused Zero Church with love and truth when in fact she was manipulated. She desperately held onto that quote blindly until her realizations at the end. By saying that quote to Yu, she's stating that Yu, a pervert, cannot possibly understand the Bible's message nor is his interest in Yoko pure.