Family & Companions
Nagisa Ôshima's career extended 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, Ôshima 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, Ôshima reacted against the humanistic style and subject matter of directors like Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa, as well as against established left-wing political movements. Ôshima had been primarily concerned with depicting the contradictions and tensions of postwar Japanese society. His films tended to expose contemporary Japanese materialism, while also examining what it means to be Japanese in the face of rapid industrialization and Westernization. Many of Ôshima's earlier films, such as "Ai to Kibo No Machi" ("A Town of Love and Hope") (1959) and "Taiyo No Hakaba" ("The Sun's Burial") (1960), featured underprivileged youths in anti-heroic roles. The film for which he was best known in the West, "Ai No Corrida" ("In the Realm of the Senses") (1976), centered on an obsessive sexual relationship. Like several other Ôshima works, it gained additional power by being based on an actual incident.
Other important Ôshima films included "Koshikei" ("Death by Hanging") (1968), an examination of the prejudicial treatment of Koreans in Japan; "Shonen" ("Boy") (1969), which dealt with the cruel use of a child for extortion purposes, and with the child's subsequent escapist fantasies; "Tokyo Senso Sengo Hiwa" ("The Man Who Left His Will on Film") (1970), about another ongoing concern of Ôshima's, the art of filmmaking itself; and "Gishiki" ("The Ceremony") (1971), which presented a microcosmic view of Japanese postwar history through the lives of one wealthy family. In later years, Ôshima repeatedly turned to sources outside Japan for the production of his films. This was the case with "Realm of the Senses" (1976), "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (1983), and "Max mon amour" (1987). It was less well known in the West that Oshima had also been a prolific documentarian, film theorist and television personality. He was the host of a long-running television talk show, "The School for Wives," in which female participants - kept anonymous by a distorting glass - presented their personal problems, to which he responded from off screen. On Jan. 15, 2013, the famous director passed away from pneumonia.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Editing (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Joined Shochiku film company as assistant director at Ofune Studios
Began writing film criticism for various publications
First film as director and screenwriter, "A Town of Love and Hope"
Left Shochiku after company withdrew "Night and Fog in Japan" from release for fear of inciting political unrest
Formed independent production company "Sozosha" ("Creation") with wife, actress Akiko Koyama; first film, "Pleasures of the Flesh"
First international co-production, "Ai no korîda/In the Realm of the Senses"; film banned by U.S. customs as "obscene" one day before scheduled screening at New York Film Festival
Won Best Director award at Cannes for "Empire of Passion"
Directed WWII drama "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," starring David Bowie and Tom Conti
First film produced entirely outside Japan, "Max, My Love"
Returned to filmmaking after 12-year absence to helm "Gohatto/Forbidden/Taboo," dealing with homosexuality among a group of samurai; screened at Cannes 2000