A corrupt businessman blackmails a lovelorn murderer, Atsushi, into watching over his suitcase full of embezzled cash while he serves a jail sentence. Rather than wait for the man to retrieve his money, however, Atsushi decides to spend it all in one libidinous rush—fully expecting to be tracked down and killed. Oshima’s dip into the waters of the popular soft-core, or “pink film,” genre is a compelling journey into excess. —The Criterion Collection
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
Subversive in its excavation of the "pinku eiga" subgenre, turning its titular "pleasures of the flesh" into an inadequate safeguard against existential despair and self-destruction. Even the expected visual pleasures associated with this genre are displaced or obstructed from view, obfuscated in dazzling abstractions of double-exposures and extreme close-ups or elided altogether.
Noir entry from Nagisa Oshima, whose people tend not so much to be greedy as they are desperate and lonely, forced to decide between several bad choices. Here a young tutor kills a man for the girl… read review