Friday, March 31, 2006

Pacific Rim: Oshima Double Feature

Death by Hanging and Diary of a Shinjuku Thief

California College of the Arts

Nagisa Oshima’s films of the 1960s combine incisive political commentary and riveting psychosexual explorations with a radical Japanese New Wave aesthetic. At 7 pm we present his early masterpiece Death by Hanging (1968), a Brechtian tour-de-force and one of the strongest indictments of capital punishment ever made on film. Based on an actual criminal case, the film tells the story of the execution of a Korean worker found guilty of rape as it denounces the oppression of Koreans in Japan and suggests that murder is the outcome of social repression. At 9 pm we screen Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (1969), a look into the sexual and cultural politics of young Japanese radicals of 1968 through the tale of a book thief/fetishist, with references to Japanese avant-garde theatre, French political writing and cinema (Genet, Godard), and Mohammed Ali. (Irina Leimbacher)