Nagisa Oshima: The Man Who Left His Soul on Film | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Nagisa Oshima: The Man Who Left His Soul on Film

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Virtually a crash course on the most important and talented living Japanese filmmaker after Kurosawa and related aspects of contemporary Japanese politics and culture. This superb feature-length documentary made in 1984 by Paul Joyce for England's Channel Four offers an indispensable look at a fearlessly innovative and political filmmaker who is all but unknown in this country today, thanks to the reluctance of his U.S. distributor to make such vital works as Boy, Death by Hanging, and The Ceremony available on video. Making intelligent use of Anglo-American commentators (writers Donald Richie, Roger Pulvers, and Paul Mayersberg) as well as Oshima himself, this film somehow manages to cover everything in Oshima's career from his early youth shockers to In The Realm of the Senses and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence--including his fame as a Japanese TV personality (at the outset we see him acting in a commercial for bug spray). Essential viewing. To be shown on three-quarter-inch video. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, June 13, 6:00, 443-3737)

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