A very strange finale to a complex and exemplary career. While Oshima became known in the west for his late period French-financed sexual explorations (“L’Empre des Sens,” L"Empire de la passion") the bulk of his earlier work is highly political and radically left-wing. Far more so than Godard.
“Night and Fog in Japan” concerns the U.S.-Japanese non-agression pact and the failed efforts of the Japanese left to protest it. "The Man Who Left His Will On Film " (aka. “He Died After the War”) is alsoabout the Jpanese left’s failure. He is also a staunch critic of Japan’s racist attitudes towards Koreans which figure in such films as “Death By Hanging” and (my personal favorite “Three Ressurrected Drunkards.”
Like “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,” “Gohatto” (“Taboo”) deals with the disquiet nascent same-sex attraction causes particular parties in all-male groups. Like the former it’s not sexually explicit. But unlike it it deals with the very original construct of a thoroughly androgynous male who longs to kill for its own sweet sake.