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In the Realm of Oshima

May 29, 2009 - July 18, 2009

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The Sun’s Burial, June 20

“No other director of Oshima’s generation has made more vital, inventive and challenging films, or taken more risks. He is a giant in contemporary cinema.”—Tony Rayns

“It is hard to overstate the significance of In the Realm of Oshima.”—Dennis Lim, New York Times

“I do not like to be called a samurai, but I admit that I have an image of myself as a fighter,” wrote one of cinema’s most essential filmmakers, Nagisa Oshima. “I would like to fight against all authorities and powers.” Debuting in 1959 with A Town of Love and Hope, Oshima helped create the Japanese New Wave, infusing traditional film genres with a politicized energy and social fury. Early on, Oshima could still “pass” at the Shochiku studio, making films in the so-called “sun tribe” genre that glorified delinquent youth culture. But his bent was clearly subversive, his focus not on the romanticism of disillusionment but on the politics of despair in postwar Japan, in the context—at first unstated—of the failed protests against the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States. In the 1960s and seventies Oshima’s name was on par with Godard’s as cinema’s most inspired visionary, setting a bar for invigoratingly challenging filmmaking that, even now, has yet to be raised. A restless innovator, Oshima constantly reinvented his aesthetic approach; his Violence at Noon has over 2,000 edits, Night and Fog in Japan fewer than fifty. In the past three decades his work has only grown more surprising, whether connecting sexual and political liberation in In the Realm of the Senses or placing a gay romance within samurai culture in Gohatto. His focus, though, has remained on certain essentials: sex and death, power and control, conformity and transgression, and above all on Japan, its nationalism, politics, conformity, and flaws, especially its treatment of Koreans. No two of Oshima’s films are the same, but all are undeniably Oshima.

With few of his films available on DVD or video, much of Oshima’s work has existed more as legend than presence; this series, organized by James Quandt of Cinematheque Ontario, is the first North American retrospective in over twenty years. More than a series, In the Realm of Oshima is a landmark, once-in-a-generation event.

Jason Sanders
Associate Film Notes Writer

Friday, May 29, 2009
6:30 p.m. Cruel Story of Youth
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1960)

Friday, May 29, 2009
8:30 p.m. Diary of a Shinjuku Thief
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1968)

Thursday, June 4, 2009
6:30 p.m. A Town of Love and Hope
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1959). Introduced by James Quandt. With short Diary of Yunbogi.

Thursday, June 4, 2009
6:30 p.m. A Town of Love and Hope


Thursday, June 4, 2009
8:50 p.m. Three Resurrected Drunkards
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1968)

Saturday, June 6, 2009
6:30 p.m. Boy
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1969). Introduced by James Quandt.

Saturday, June 6, 2009
8:50 p.m. Death by Hanging
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1968)

Thursday, June 11, 2009
7:30 p.m. Night and Fog in Japan
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1960)

Saturday, June 13, 2009
6:30 p.m. The Catch
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1961)

Saturday, June 13, 2009
8:30 p.m. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Nagisa Oshima (U.K./Japan, 1983)

Thursday, June 18, 2009
6:30 p.m. Shiro Amakusa, the Christian Rebel
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1962)

Thursday, June 18, 2009
8:30 p.m. Cruel Story of Youth
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1960)

Saturday, June 20, 2009
6:30 p.m. The Sun’s Burial
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1960)

Saturday, June 20, 2009
8:20 p.m. The Ceremony
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1971)

Thursday, June 25, 2009
6:30 p.m. Band of Ninja
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1967)

Thursday, June 25, 2009
8:30 p.m. Three Resurrected Drunkards
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1968)

Saturday, June 27, 2009
6:30 p.m. A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Song
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1967)

Saturday, June 27, 2009
8:40 p.m. In the Realm of the Senses
Nagisa Oshima (Japan/France, 1976)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
7:30 p.m. Violence at Noon
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1966)

Thursday, July 9, 2009
6:30 p.m. The Man Who Left His Will on Film
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1970)

Thursday, July 9, 2009
8:30 p.m. Dear Summer Sister
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1972)

Saturday, July 11, 2009
6:30 p.m. Pleasures of the Flesh
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1965)

Saturday, July 11, 2009
8:20 p.m. Empire of Passion
Nagisa Oshima (Japan/France, 1978)

Thursday, July 16, 2009
6:30 p.m. 100 Years of Japanese Cinema
Nagisa Oshima (U.K., 1994). With Kyoto, My Mother’s Place.

Thursday, July 16, 2009
6:30 p.m. 100 Years of Japanese Cinema


Saturday, July 18, 2009
6:30 p.m. Double Suicide: Japanese Summer
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1967)

Saturday, July 18, 2009
8:30 p.m. Gohatto
Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 2000)

In the Realm of Oshima was curated by James Quandt, senior programmer, Cinematheque Ontario, and organized at PFA by Mona Nagai. PFA wishes to thank Oshima Productions, The Japan Foundation, Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, Janus Films, and New Yorker Films for their contributions to this series.

Cosponsored by the Consulate General of Japan, San Francisco.