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Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima

Born on March 31, 1932, Nagisa Oshima studied law at Kyoto University earning his degree in 1954. He soon entered the Ofuna studios in Shochiku and for five years was an assistant to several directors including Hideo Oba.

In 1959, after directing several shorts, he completed his first feature, TOWN OF LOVE AND HOPE. This poignant film recounts the story of a poor pigeon vendor and his relationship with a young bourgeois girt. The brutality of the final scene caused a scandal and the film was only shown in small second-string theatres. In 1960, Japan was rocked by the struggle with the Japanese

American Security Treaty; he directed NAKED YOUTH. Showcasing the miserable existence of boys and girls, he received the Prize for the Best Newcomer from the Director's Guild of Japan.

His next film, THE SUN'S BURIAL, became the standard-bearer of the Japanese New Wave and received the prize for Best Young Hopeful from the Association of Japanese Directors. His following project was NIGHT AND FOG IN JAPAN, a synthesis of Japan's agitated period. With the assassination of the socialist leader, Inejiro Asanuma, the film was banned after only four days in the theaters. At that point Nagisa Oshima left Shochiku.

With the actress Akiko Koyama, whom he married in 1960, he set up his own production company Sozosha (creation) and proceeded to adapt Kenzaburo Oe's novel, THE CATCH. He went on to direct his first historical film, THE REVOLUTIONARY, with Hashizo Okawa, before making such television documentaries as A FORGOTTEN IMPERIAL ARMY and STONE MONUMENT OF YOUTH.

In 1965, after taking a three-year sabbatical, Nagisa Oshima returned to the big screen with PLEASURES OF THE FLESH, produced in collaboration with Shochiku,. along with a series of films DEATH BY HANGING and THE CEREMONY, which was selected for Directors' Fortnight at Cannes.

In 1975, he directed IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES which won numerous awards in Cannes in 1976; it was acclaimed as a great erotic film and a masterpiece. A censored version of the film was released in Japan. Two years later with EMPIRE OF PASSION, Nagisa Oshima won the Best Director's award at the Cannes Film Festival.

MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE won both popular and critical kudos. Co-produced by Japan, Great Britain and New Zealand, it brought together an eclectic and surprising cast including David Bowie, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Beat Takeshi. Nagisa Oshima then went on to direct a French film, MAX MY LOVE, in 1986,

When he is not directing, Oshima's activities are numerous and varied. A talented popular debater, he participates in numerous television shows and avidly writes critiques and essays.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Nagisa Oshima Facts

OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
BirthdayMarch 31, 1932 (91)
BirthplaceKyoto, Japan

Selected Filmography

In the Realm of the Senses
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties
Death by Hanging
Max Mon Amour
Empire of Passion
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