Though its current title is certainly appropriate, it’s almost a missed opportunity that Sion Sono’s explicit phantasmagoria Antiporno wasn’t renamed Living in Pink Oblivion for domestic release. Kyôko (Ami Tomite) is an artist living in an appropriately hyper-stylized studio apartment who’s abusive to everyone around her, especially her assistant, Noriko (Mariko Tsutsui), whom she humiliates and orders to slash her wrists. She also has a film loop playing on her wall of what appears to be a young girl being raped in the woods.
After 30 minutes it’s all revealed to be a film set, with Kyôko the newbie actress and Noriko the experienced star — and that’s when Kyôko’s troubles truly begin, as her reality starts breaking down, Perfect Blue-style. All movies are products of the culture that made them, and Antiporno presupposes knowledge of the Roman Porno subgenre of Japan’s “pink film” industry. But even if the viewer doesn’t grok all the specifics, the virgin-whore dichotomy Kyôko wrestles with is a global issue, just as the specificity of the very American I, Tonya doesn’t keep it from exploring universal themes. Besides, Tokyo Tribe and Why Don’t You Play in Hell? director Sono is too strong a visual stylist to let unfamiliarity with the deeper cultural meanings prevent any enjoyment of his frequently eye-popping audacity.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.