Among the most fascinating films by one of Japanese cinema’s all-time great iconoclasts, Boy is a dark comedy that arrives at some provocative conclusions about the effects of capitalism on the family unit. The titular young lad, 10-year-old Toshio (Tetsuo Abe) belongs to a family of grifters who make a living through automobile-accident scams: one member of the family stages themselves getting hit by a car, and the family then extracts a settlement payment from the unnerved driver. But when the young boy proves himself something of a virtuoso at perpetrating the aforementioned scam, a nation-spanning road trip to profit off of Toshio’s gifts turns into an increasingly tense flight from the cops. A comic moral tale based on a true story and chock-full of formal ideas, Boy counts among Oshima’s signature works. An NYFF7 Main Slate selection.
I haven’t seen this film, but I chose it for the love of Oshima and it’s a rare opportunity to see it on the big screen.
This selection complements Imamura’s A Man Vanishes and Kiarostami’s Homework, both of which play with the concept of reality in cinema and in life. —Apichatpong Weerasethakul