It’s hard to imagine a film from nearly 50 years ago depicting real-life trans women, drag queens and gay boys—let alone one filmed in Japan. But 1969’s Funeral Parade of Roses did just that.
Loosely based on Oedipus Rex, Toshio Matsumoto’s underground queer cult classic follows “Eddie” and other trans women as they travel through the twilight world of Tokyo gay bars and drag clubs. (In Japanese, bara, or “rose,” is used similarly as the English slang word “pansy.”)
Combining elements of experimental film and documentary, Funeral Parade of Roses is considered a masterpiece of the Japanese New Wave and was cited by Stanley Kubrick as a major influence on A Clockwork Orange.
Though long unavailable in the U.S., Cinelicious Pics has overseen a 4K restoration of the film for re-release this month.
Below, check out an exclusive preview from this hidden gem.
Funeral Parade of Roses opens June 9 at the Quad Cinema in New York and June 16 at Cinefamily in L.A.