Oshima's Outlaw Sixties [Criterion Collection] [5 Discs] [DVD]

The Criterion Collection's Eclipse series offers monthly installments of lost or overlooked film classics, themed by director, with several titles per package. Volume 21, Oshima's Outlaw Sixties, hones in on the man commonly dubbed "The Godard of the East," Nagisa Oshima (b. 1932). It features five seldom-seen Oshima titles produced between 1965 and 1968, all but one of which had never been commercially issued on video prior to the arrival of this set. The set begins with the 1965 Pleasures of Flesh, a drama about a man who tries to use embezzled money to satisfy his carnal lusts. The second film in the set, 1966's Violence at Noon, follows the regression of one misguided and deeply confused man from political idealist to serial killer. The third film, 1967's Sing a Song of Sex, witnesses a quartet of students falling into sexual deviance and death just prior to taking their final exams. The fourth title, Japanese Summer: Double Suicide, also known as Night of the Killer, follows a sex addict and a would-be suicide who grow entangled with organized crime. Finally, 1968's Three Resurrected Drunkards, follows three innocent Japanese citizens who embark on a pleasant day at the beach but get mistaken for illegal Korean immigrants.
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Overview

Synopsis

Japanese Summer: Double Suicide
The Pleasures of the Flesh
Director Nagisa Oshima's film uses the "pink" genre to mask an allegory about the materialism of post-war Japan (the original title translates as "Indulgence"). Katsuo Nakamura stars as a man blackmailed by a thief, who makes him hold on to some stolen loot while the thief serves a jail sentence. Nakamura is led into temptation by all that money sitting around, so he decides to spend it on wild partying and sex before killing himself to avoid retribution. Like the films of Paul Morrissey, Etsuraku simultaneously exploits its subject matter and condemns it, to peculiar effect. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Violence at Noon
The unstable social milieu of postwar Japan is brought into play in Violence at Noon. Two young women, whose lives are far from blissful, are raped by an equally disenfranchised assailant. Director Nagisa Oshima seems to argue that it is the horrid living conditions endured by the rapist and his victims, rather than the rape itself, that should be condemned. Oshima sustains audience interest with his lightning-paced editing, offering some 2000 separate shots in the space of 90 minutes. Violence at Noon begins simply, but ends in so complex a fashion that more questions are raised than can ever possibly be answered. The film's original Japanese title was Hakuchu no Torima. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Kaette Kita Yopparai
After students prankishly steal the clothes of two people swimming nude in the ocean, the swimmers return to land and wander around au naturel. They are assumed to be Korean illegal immigrants, and are chased and hounded. This comedy takes a rare look at Japanese racism. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

A Treatise on a Japanese Bawdy Song

Cast & Crew

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    Keiko Sakurai
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