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Strange Circus [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MMLP9G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,801 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The third film I have watched by this Director and this man is talented. The version I watched is 148 minutes and this is the one to get. I can see why it has been cut. There is enough sex in this film to fill pornhub, but if you are buying it for that you are going to be whacked around the gills in a psychological roller coaster ride which takes no prisoners.

Lynch, Jodorowsky, distended psychologies, a critique of the mental health system, this film rips apart an upper class dream and scythes into social pretension, game playing, violence, patriarchal rite de signeur with such brutal precision it will stay in the mind for months.

A film about elucidation, the R D Laing version; wishing yourself away into being another person because the one you exist within is too horrible to contemplate. The catalyst for the brutality is the father, and as I watched it struck many chords with the work of Anais Nin who went through a similar experience.

The film is important in many ways as it makes the links between sexual abuse and later mental health conditions including the desire to disfigure the self and take revenge.

It concentrates on child abuse and how a mother colludes then looks at the impact of the events on the main characters as adults. It has more twists and turns than an eel on a fishing line, as the story unravels. Multiple endings, beliefs and dreams wash through the film throughout. Filmed with an eye to Cabaret and David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes it also paints a palette of washed out Japan hiding itself away from emotional reality.

Absolutely raw, uncompromising, taking the full swing and whacking into the tissues of lies, families erect around their reality, the film is beautifully rendered.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Critic Ali Insane on 31 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Firstly, the review by Caradoc Elmet is absolute nonsense. I purchased my version from an Amazon market place supplier and the running time is just shy of two hours. The flick I watched was very disturbing and extremely graphic with full on violence and not cut in the slightest.

Masumi Miyazaki puts in an incredible performance in Sion Sono's erotically grotesque masterpiece about an author who may, or may not, have been abused as a child. The story centres around a teenage girl called Mitsuko who is forced to watch her parents indulge in carnal pleasures through a peephole from inside a cello case; until her demented father (former glam rocker and artist Oguchi) decides upon a role reversal between mother and daughter and a ludicrous love triangle develops amidst a doomed family dynamic. Jealousy rears its ugly head as fighting ensues between the once peaceful mother and daughter. The sexual abuse sends Mitsuko's mind into a realm of fantasy making her an audience member observing the strange circus that decapitates any willing volunteer; as evil clowns and drag-queens stalk the sumptuously lit stage inside a darkened club.

The starkly gorgeous style of the cinematography and the garish narrative, which clearly echoes the "is it real or imagined" style of Edogawa Rampo, is all crafted from the same uncomfortably resonant atmospheric fabric that nightmares reside within: the hallways occasionally transform into blood-dripping, crimson corridors with a televised head of authoritarian parenting being wheeled around.

The luridly stylised eroticism laced in fetid fetishism with an insatiable script plummets even deeper into the bowels of depravity long before the amputation scenes, bondage imprisonment and secret transexuality kicks into full swing.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Caradoc Elmet on 13 Oct. 2008
Format: DVD
Don't bother with this awful American edit. The original is a 108 minute film, this is a mere 83 minutes! All the heart has been removed, all the main features have been ripped out and what's left is a meaningless pile of dross which will leave you wondering how this ever got a release.

Get the original unedited version which is five stars all the way!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BavaBlood on 16 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I knew nothing about this film other than having watched Suicide Circle by the same director. I took a chance by ordering it and was glad i did. Firstly, the film looks great. The colours are vivid and the sets are imaginative and strange in keeping with the tone. The film is about incest, emotional trauma and revenge. It is told in a surreal style which won't please fans of more commercial cinema but is what makes it unique. The themes are difficult to stomach but I never felt that the exploitation element was too extreme. The performances are good and it is well directed. It is artistic in nature and has a dream-like quality.
The only disappointment for me was that the director/writer felt the need to include a hurried explanation for everything at the end. Also, the scene on the bed is too visceral but certainly has an impact. On the whole, a fascinating film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
", lust, jealousy, meantal breakdown, and then revenge..." 19 Aug. 2008
By Andrew M. Wolf - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I really don't know where to start on this one, because it is just that amazing.

Firstly, the movie is incredibly beautiful, in a mind-blowing, visually stunning sort of way. Everything is very detailed,
Secondly, the acting is impeccable. All of the characters come to life and Masumi Miyazaki does such an insanely good job, I stand captivated long after multiple viewings...
Combined, you are sucked into the world these characters are living in, and sent into the big top of chaos.

Sion Sono, who you may, and most likely know from Suicide Club takes a whack at sexuality, and once again family. Tossing away society, we take a very intimate look at the workings of attraction, jealousy, memories, and a hurricane of other emotions that spawn from love of any sort; in this case it is a distorted love.

About this DVD:
The packaging is very nice, haha... the apparently newly trendy clear box, with nice inserts. The disk itself has the full version of Strange Circus, despite what the box says, this is, in fact the full TLA releasing of the movie, with the time as correct on Why it is incorrect on the box... I do not know. There is also a great making of featurette, with English subtitles, that runs about an hour.

Though people say that this movie is highly disturbing and uncomfortable, etc. I didn't find it to be that bad. Yes there are some more... off-putting scenes, but nothing I wouldn't feel comfortable watching with friends, and definitely nothing inappropriate given the story/goal of this film, that taken into perspective, it's actually quite tasteful, going so far as to let you in on what is happening, but not so far as to be exploiting anyone. As I said, it is so well done, that you are completely taken along for the ride. The music is dead on to bring you in too, and the visuals are surreal to ordinary, and everywhere in between, but even when ordinary, it is breath-taking in beauty. Sion Sono again takes on a big task, and succeeds, in my opinion, and delivers something to take a look at and open your mind up to!

All around 5/5! A must buy/watch for the Japanese Cinema fan, Sion Sono fan, or the open-minded viewer!!!
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
True to its title...3 1/2 stars. 18 April 2007
By Woopak - Published on
Format: DVD
Strange Circus is from the director of Suicide Club. Both films are controversial and very uninhibited with their theme.
Very bizarre, uninhibited, disturbingly wierd to its very core, this film doesn't leave much for the imagination, it pushes the envelope in the world of the macabre and the unusual. Actually, bizarre is an understatement. Decapitated limbs, incestuous lovemaking, and blood-soaked walls squeeze deep within the story's convoluted and utterly unnerving nature. It's the type of film that you want to look away from if it wasn't so intriguing.

A film that pushes the envelope this far has to be artistically captivating in its cinematography and immersive in execution to offset its exploitative premise and bypass its dark shadowy premise. The film delivers; with such lurid visual grandeur, dark twisted philosophy and a very strong and aggressive narrative style from director Sion Sono, it manages to rise above that label, but still maintain a feeling of gritty disgust which looms in its endless pit of the unusual. Buckle your seat belts and check your airbags, because all the odd and disturbing twists and turns within Strange Circus could disturb the viewer in a way that simulates whiplash.

As much as I would like to give you details of the screenplay, I'd rather have the ones who happen to rent/buy this title be taken on a ride. Suffice it to say, the film revolves around the decline of child named Mitsuko, and her mother Sayuri/Taeko the novelist. While this is a very grotesque tale of a love triangle, the good cinematography can preoccupy the viewer of this odd tale.

Masumi Miyazaki gives a great performance. She is quite gutsy to pull this off. She manages to capture the aura of Sayuri's/Taeko's eroticism as well as her twisted presence. She is quite a sight. The actress must have been hand-picked for this role. Sexy, alluring but with a disturbing aura about her; Miyasaki rivals Aya Sugimoto when it comes to raw twisted sexuality.

Strange Circus is an experience very much alike when you experience motion sickness. Viewers will feel like being grabbed by the spine and shaken until you pass out. For some reason, I managed to sit through the entire film because it gets you curious on how it will end. It has that effect much like when you see a car wreck, you want to look away but for unknown some reason you can't and your eyes are stuck.

Video/Audio: This TLA release video transfer is much like the Japanese region 3 release. The transfer is very sufficient to a film this type. It has some video noise but not bad. The 5.1 DD track is quite crisp. It delivers that loud creepy score.

I would like to warn you that this is not for the faint of heart. It is a journey into the unusual with a VERY shocking level of abnormality. People who liked Lynchian-type mind-benders may want to give it a shot. The film's premise is of such sensitive nature that only the MOST TIMID recommendation can be given. [3.5 stars]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Come prepared. 24 Mar. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: DVD
Strange Circus is a great movie. It's very poetic, somewhat slow-paced, and it's beautiful to look at - at least when you're not looking away and covering your eyes. Still, it doesn't matter- there's no place to hide. This movie burrows right into your gut and stays there. It's not a horror film; it's more of a twisting, surreal drama. And yet it contains just about every horrific taboo subject you can think of. Rape, incest, forced voyerism, mutilation, physical and mental abuse- if you can think of it, it's in there. Did I mention the finale also includes a chainsaw? Yes, it's poetry, but it's a brutal poem that hits you in the gut, over and over again. If you're only a casual fan of Asian Cinema, this movie will be like staring into the sun. Don't do it. Don't watch. But if you're familiar with Sono's other works, or Miike's work, this movie is quite a ride. Come prepared.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Deep,disturbing and captivating 11 Mar. 2007
By Bob Whitley - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of the most disturbing films i have ever seen. It deals with child physical,sexual and emotional abuse in the most in your face manner possible. A little girl is forced by her own father to watch sexual acts through a peephole. The movie gets darker and darker with every scene and through the whole thing you get the feeling that your watching a nightmare on screen. Its very disturbing but its a solid film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Umm...aahhhh.... 12 April 2010
By befoulmetalroosa - Published on
Format: DVD
What can I say? Seriously? It was surreal, confusing, and uncomfortable, all at the same time. The implied sex between father and twelve-year-old daughter was excellently done, without actually indulging in a bit of pedophilia. Using her mother as the representation of her was brilliant, and spared many of us the squick of underage incest.

The young man who plays Yuji was stunning. He was effeminate without being over the top. You could almost see the glint of psychosis in his eyes as he confronts his mother and father near the end of the movie. Until then, he seemed almost normal, if a bit of a fanboy. The psychological twists and turns, and the constant switching of perspective, kept me confused and dazed throughout the film. I was never sure, even by the end of the movie, what the real story was. Definitely kept me guessing.'s review of the movie has one thing wrong, however. There was no sex between Taeko and Yuji. Kind of difficult, considering Yuji was actually Taeko's daughter. The self-mutililation, by removing her breasts, to negate the idea that she was just like her mother, brought home with shocking clarity how damaging parental rape and neglect can truly be. This film is an acquired taste, cerebral in nature, and not for everyone.
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