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December 07, 2012

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Ted

I've probably seen over half of the films that Oshima made. Some of them are quite powerful, 'Death by Hanging,' 'Shadows and Fog in Japan' and 'Violence at Noon',in particular. But overall, I still feel that he's a bit overrated. Most of his films looks like a deliberate attempt to shock, and look really dated now. Just my opinion, of course.

MC

Hi Ted, I agree with you on some levels. I was mostly reading this book in order to decide which Oshima film to use in my Japanese cinema course, because I think he is an influential film maker. I think 'Realm of the Senses' is his masterpiece and there's no way I'm showing that in class! I also considered 'Empire of Passion' (even though I haven't seen it) but after reading Turim's description I decided that it, too, was too sexually loaded for my comfort. Then I thought about 'Shadows and Fog in Japan,' although it might have been ground breaking at the time, it was tough to sit through. In the end, I decided to go with 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,' which was the first Oshima film I saw and seems to be his most well-known film. I have to admit after reading a full-length book (Dresser's 'Eros Plus Massacre' also has lots of discussion about the films of Oshima), I am curious about several of the films I haven't seen. In addition to those I mentioned in my review above, I'd like to see: 'Death By Hanging,' 'The Ceremony,'A Town Of Love and Hope,'Burial of the Sun,' and 'Cruel Stories of Youth.' But again, I prefer several other Japanese directors more: Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, Imamura, Ozu, Kobayashi,etc...

Ted

For your students, I think That Merry Christmas is the most accessible. 'The Ceremony' and "Death by Hanging" probably too sexual and political. 'Burial' and 'Cruel Story' are good narrative films typical of the Taiyozoku period, so might also be decent choices.

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