Nagisa Oshima’s most personal film is a reflection by the director on his own disillusionment with the revolutionary student movement of the 1950’s and the failure of political radicalism.
Taking it’s title (as a reference or homage) from Alain Resnais’ pivotal 1956 documentary Nuit et Brouillard, the film has a group of former student revolutionaries who meet again years later at the wedding of one of their classmates. Old feelings, rivalaries and grudges gradually erupt to the surface as the one-time friends recall the various treacheries by which their cause was defeated. Cutting between times past and the present, and unfolding the action from each of his characters viewpoints, Oshima creates an abstract and yet engrossing study of passions past and principles eroded.
Controversial upon release – the film’s producers pulled the film from distribution after only a few days in cinemas – Night & Fog in Japan retains both its power to shock and its ability to engage the viewer in it’s radical form and themes. —Yume Pictures
Nagisa Oshima’s career extends from the initiation of the “Nuberu bagu” (New Wave) movement in Japanese cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to the contemporary use of cinema and television to express paradoxes in modern society. After an early involvement with the student protest movement in Kyoto, Oshima rose rapidly in the Shochiku company from the status of apprentice in 1954 to that of director. By 1960, he had grown disillusioned with the traditional studio production policies and broke away from Shochiku to form his own independent production company, Sozosha, in 1965. With other Japanese New Wave filmmakers like Masahiro Shinoda, Shohei Imamura and Yoshishige Yoshida, Oshima reacted against the humanistic style and subject matter of directors like Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa, as well as against established left-wing political movements. Oshima has been primarily concerned with depicting the contradictions and tensions of postwar Japanese society. His… read more
Oshima's discussion-drama situates Resnais' haunted technique in a wedding ceremony that functions simultaneously as a funeral for the political self and a battleground for the principles of youth revolt and stability, unified by Brechtian technique and tormented retrospection. Amazingly, a commercial release; predictably, shelved by the studio upon realizing Oshima had concealed content of the screenplay from them.