How can a film shock today's jaded audiences, for whom blood spurts and flying body parts prompt laughter instead of gasps? How can a filmmaker transgress when nearly everything is allowed? Taken far enough, this line of inquiry can lead to the attention of the police. It can also be the starting point of interesting films, but Sion Sono is one of the few diligently (as opposed to opportunistically) pursuing it in Japanese films today.

His answers can be blackly comic, as in his 237-minute 2008 epic "Ai no Mukidashi (Love Exposure)," whose teenage pervert hero finds the love of his life while shooting up-skirt photos.

Screened in the Directors' Fortnight section of this year's Cannes Film Festival, Sono's "Koi no Tsumi (Guilty of Romance)," takes a more serious tone, perhaps because its subject is female sexuality in its more extreme forms. Sono, as he has confessed in interviews, both adores and fears the opposite sex, which makes him typically male. At the same time, he is unusually eager to plunge to the sexual and psychological depths, while trying to elevate his story beyond the temporality of its late 1990s period.