Thursday, March 27

FeaturesSpecial Events ArchiveBoston Underground Film Festival 2014

Why Don’t You Play in Hell

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New England Premiere!

2013, Japan, 126 min.
Director Sion Sono
Screenwriter Sion Sono
Cast Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Hiroki Hasegawa, Gen Hoshino

A renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud in this bloody ode to 35mm cinema, the thirty-first feature film from Japan’s prolific provocateur auteur Sion Sono.

Serious cinema nerds can be forgiven if they seem annoyed trying to keep up with Sono’s output. The director has cranked out three (3!) feature films since Guilty of Romance, which screened at BUFF only last year. But unlike that film or the oppressive Cold Fish before it, here Sono dispenses with the feral intensity and embraces an inspired silliness that is an absolute joy to behold. Sono’s latest is a glorious genre mash-up that is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser despite the many literal bloodbaths peppered throughout. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? may not be for everybody, but it is most definitely for you, the loyal BUFF attendee. You’re welcome in advance.

The film wastes no time introducing us to The Fuck Bombers, a clan of film geeks whose level of devotion to cinema approaches religious reverence. Through a ridiculously convoluted series of events, The Fuck Bombers manage to cross paths with two rival Yakuza factions, whose increasingly violent mob war makes the perfect backdrop for the Bombers’ opus. Sono’s talent for establishing plot points A, B, and C, then seamlessly interweaving them makes this level of narrative distillation seems almost criminal.

Why Don’t You Play In Hell? isn’t as brilliantly subversive as Sono’s 2008 masterpiece Love Exposure, but is much in the same vein, and it serves as a proper introduction to the auteur for those who were scared away by Love Exposure’s four-hour runtime. The samurai film, the yakuza film, the influences of Bruce Lee, Kinji Fukasaku, Leos Carax’sHoly Motors, and even Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 (itself a collage of Japanese cinema, just to give you an idea of how meta Sono’s ambitions are here) are all blended together and the results are as entertaining as can be. If you have other plans, cancel them. You don’t want to miss this one.

— Kevin Monahan

Click a showtime to purchase tickets:

  • Thursday, March 27 at 9:45 PM

Tickets $10, $8 Brattle Members. Brattle passes not accepted for festival screenings.