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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 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:
- Action Girl: Yoko, occasionally Koike.
- All Men Are Perverts: According to Yoko.
- As the Good Book Says...: Yoko is quite fond of 1 Corinthians 13.
- Break the Cutie: Yu but to, an extent, Yoko as well.
- Broken Bird: Yoko
- Chekhov's Gun: The pervert with the bomb.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Played with. Yu partakes in upskirt photography but not for personal pleasure. The same goes for his "pervert priest" act.
- Cult: The Zero Church
- Deprogramming: Attempted by Yu on Yoko.
- Disguised in Drag: Yu dresses up as Lady Scorpion after losing a bet to his friends.
- Does Not Like Men: Yoko. Except for Kurt Cobain and Jesus.
- Driven to Madness: Yu by the end of the film as well as, arguably Aoike. (She arguably started off mad.)
- Dysfunctional Family: The characters eventually become this.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Epic Movie
- Freudian Excuse: Yoko and Koike both had unpleasant relationships with their fathers.
- Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Subverted. It's agony for Yu.
- Heroic BSOD:
- High-Pressure Blood
- Hot for Preacher: Kaori for Tetsu.
- Japanese Christian: All of the film's main characters in their demented fashion.
- 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.
- Love Hurts
- Madness Mantra: "Give it to me!"
- Panty Shot: Justified. Considering that the main character partakes in upskirt photography, a few of these are pretty much a given.
- Pervert Dad: Yoko and Koike both have one.
- Race For Your Love
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Yuku's attack on Zero Church.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians
- Sensei for Scoundrels: Master Lloyd
- Shout-Out: Sasori, the woman whom Yu cross-dresses as, is based on Meiko Kaji's character from the Female Prisoner Scorpion films.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Yu for Yoko.