PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND Review: Trapped in The Subjectiveness Of Art

In a 2016 documentary about his life and creative process, there is a scene where filmmaker Sion Sono shows a barely completed painting, that he had been working on for months, to the crew filming him and asks dispassionately if they think it’s good art or not. The off-camera interviewer, clearly confused by the sudden and direct question sputters out that he doesn’t know. Sono sharply responds that it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad and that it only matters if it expresses emotion. He then chucks the large canvas across the room with as much care as one throws a soiled tissue into the trash. This peculiar moment reveals a lot about how Sono views his work and it’s all I could think about after I watched his latest directorial effort, the post-apocalyptic “East meets West” mashup, PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND.