Turin Film Fest 2009: Nagisa Oshima Retrospective

The 27th TFF dedicates a retrospective to Nagisa Oshima which is curated by Stefano Francia di Celle and will include all his feature films and a wide selection of the many works he has made for television, from his TV films to the documentaries he made in the 1960s and ‘70s (including The Forgotten Army, A Small Child’s First Adventure and The Life of Mao) and his recent, beautiful history of Japanese cinema (Nagisa Oshima 100 Years of Japanese Cinema). 
 
Forty years ago, the discovery of his films took Italy by storm: Nagisa Oshima is the absolute maestro of Japan’s “nouvelle vague,” rigorous and disquieting, lucid and bellicose; by the early 1970s he had already made nineteen films. He filmed youth, anguish and protest; he is the strict political poet who depicted the student protest movements which opposed the ratification of the 1960 security treaty between Japan and the U.S.A. (Night and Fog in Japan), the discrimination and contradictions of Japanese society, and the themes of modern times which were closest to his heart: sex, crime, fantasy and politics. Oshima has assimilated and bettered classic Japanese cinema; his 1971 masterpiece The Ceremony achingly summarized the post-war history of Japan.
 
Oshima was also a polemicist, a writer of essays, a television director and a journalist during the long periods when he couldn’t make his own films because he was considered too difficult and extreme a filmmaker. He gained fame in Europe thanks to a film whose radical eroticism created a “scandal;” In the Realm of the Senses was first blocked and then savagely edited by Italian censors. It was primarily thanks to his French distributor that he was able to make his most recent films: Furyo (1983, with David Bowie and Ryüichi Sakamoto) and Max, mon amour (1986, with Charlotte Rampling). 
 
His newest film is Gohatto, starring Takeshi “Beat” Kitano.