Directed by Toshio Matsumoto • 1969 • Japan
Starring Peter, Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshimi Jo
Director Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night world of drag bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art, and black mascara. An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter gives an astonishing performance as Eddie, a hostess at Bar Genet who ignites a violent love triangle with reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) for the attentions of club owner Gonda (Yoshio Tsuchiya). One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and comic-book word balloons into a dizzying whirl of image and sound.