THE CATCH (Nagisa Oshima, 1961)

Towards the end of the Second World War, a downed U.S. pilot is captured and imprisoned by rural Japanese villagers, who await official instructions as to how to proceed with their “catch.” The villagers constantly refer to the soldier, who is black, as “the nigger,” and the fascination he draws—although there are those who are […]

MERRY CHRISTMAS[,] MR. LAWRENCE (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)

Nagisa Oshima, surpassed in Japanese cinema only by Yasujiro Ozu, tends to make movies that are exceptionally harsh and violent; even so, one is not prepared for the cruelty on display in Merry Christmas[,] Mr. Lawrence, Oshima’s adaptation of Afrikaner novelist Laurens Van der Post’s The Seed and the Sower, about cultural and other collisions […]


Songs: their singing both expresses and partially numbs bad feelings. This paradox of humanity correlates to the appearance of Nagisa Oshima’s brilliant, largely improvised Nihon shunka-kô, sometimes translated as Sing a Song of Sex, where color often translates into black and white, in particular, a palette of soft, melancholy grays. Uttered on a college campus […]