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 […]

A TREATISE ON JAPANESE BAWDY SONGS (Nagisa Oshima, 1967)

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 […]