Often called the Godard of the East, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima was one of the most provocative film artists of the twentieth century, and his works challenged and shocked the cinematic world for decades. Following his rise to prominence at Shochiku, Oshima struck out to form his own production company, Sozosha, in 1961. That move ushered in the prolific period of his career that gave birth to the five films collected here.
Unsurprisingly, this studio renegade was fascinated by stories of outsiders - serial killers, rabid hedonists, and stowaway misfits are just some of the social castoffs you'll meet in these audacious, cerebral entries in the New Wave surge that made Japan a hub of truly daredevil moviemaking.
Films include: Pleasures of the Flesh, Violence at Noon, Sing a Song of Sex, Japanese Summer Double Suicide, Three Resurrected Drunkards.
Pleasures of the Flesh
A corrupt businessman blackmails a lovelorn murderer, Atsushi, into watching over his suitcase full of embezzled cash while he serves a jail sentence. Rather than wait for the man to retrieve his money, however, Atsushi decides to spend it all in one libidinous rush - fully expecting to be tracked down and killed. Oshima's dip into the waters of the popular soft-core, or "pink film," genre is a compelling journey into excess.
Violence at Noon
Oshima's disturbing tale concerns the odd circumstances surrounding a horrific murder and rape spree. In an unexpected twist, the film is as much about the two women who protect the violent man = his wife and a former victim - as it is about him. Containing more than two thousand cuts and a wealth of inventive widescreen compositions, this coolly fragmented character study is a mesmerizing investigation of criminality and social decay.
Sing a Song of Sex
In Oshima's enigmatic tale, four sexually hungry high school students preparing for their university entrance exams meet up with an inebriated teacher singing bawdy drinking songs. This encounter sets them on a less than academic path.
Japanese Summer: Double Suicide
A sex-obsessed young woman, a suicidal young man she meets on the street, a gun-crazy wannabe gangster - these are just three of the irrational, oddball anarchists trapped in an underground hideaway in Oshima's devilish, absurdist portrait of what he deemed the "death drive" in Japanese youth culture.
Three Resurrected Drunkards
A trio of bumbling young men frolic at the beach. While they swim, their clothes are stolen and replaced with new outfits. Having donned these, they are mistaken for undocumented Koreans and end up on the run from comically outraged authorities. A cutting commentary on Japan's treatment of its Korean immigrants, this is Oshima at both his most politically engaged and madcap.
Spoken Languages: Japanese, English subtitles.