Large casts often make for messy cinema. However, Sion Sono’s latest poem to humanity has managed to bypass the potential problems. The whole idea behind Red Post on Escher Street would not have worked with a tiny cast.
A film about film-making with a cast portraying cast members and extras – goes a bit haywire, as might be expected from the aforementioned cinematic messes. This may be a reflection on Sono’s time in the American movie-making scene (his Nicolas Cage-starred Prisoners of the Ghostland is in post-production). Or one might argue that this isn’t the first time the director tackles the behind-the-scenes world of film-making (The Forest of Love, 2019, Antiporno, 2016). Either way, he has pulled together an immense array of characters, each with their own stories.
The only negative critique might be that at times, some scenes are unnecessarily long. The overall feel is somewhat akin to a Shunji Iwai film, which often undulates and spreads out to show the backstories of his characters.
Sono’s film within a film is about the masks we all wear. Not those blue surgical ones in 2020, mind you. These masks are the ones faceless people wear. We are all part of the crowd. Flavorless puppets. Man controls man. Life goes in circles. Sono plays with the essence of chronology though it’s only really seen near the end of the story. The allusion to artist Escher’s motif is subtle, but represents life’s ups and downs. Does the quest for the start and the beginning have a meaning behind it all?
Freedom in this world is ending.
Don’t be an extra in your life. Stand up to the plate and pitch.
Red Post on Escher Street – On Demand October 7th – 31st, 2020