Of the iconoclastic Japanese filmmakers who rose to prominence in the 1960s, perhaps none worked as fearlessly and concertedly toward crafting an unapologetically subversive body of work than Kijū Yoshida (1933–2022). Starting his career as a young recruit to Shochiku’s directing apprenticeship system (alongside fellow enfant terrible Nagisa Ōshima), Yoshida’s earliest work finds him radically politicizing the commercially minded projects to which he was assigned, frequently in collaboration with the actress Mariko Okada, who would become his wife and lifelong creative partner. They soon moved away from the mainstream film industry entirely in order to create increasingly ambitious, eminently political films together, exemplified by their epochal Eros + Massacre (1969), a legendary work that traces a visionary counter-history of radical art and politics in Japan. An intrepid experimentalist whose films confront the political issues of his day with a keen interest in the taboo and a staunch refusal to be confined to any one formal approach, Yoshida’s oeuvre endures as one of Japanese cinema’s wildest and most intellectually stirring.
Presented in partnership with the Japan Foundation, New York. In cooperation with the National Film Archive of Japan. Organized by Dan Sullivan.
Austrian Filmmuseum; Galerie Lumière des Roses; Gendai Eigasha; Japan Society, New York.
This screening will take place at Japan SocietyYoshida’s first independent film is a startling affair, depicting the unbreakable love of mother and child when a young man finds himself torn between his fiancée and the single mother who raised him. Starring Mariko Okada, whose otherworldly beauty is framed by Yoshida in typically striking, veiled compositions.
The Dec. 8 screening will take place at Japan SocietyYoshida came out of his feature filmmaking retirement with this typically idiosyncratic meditation on the situation of the elderly as they try to hang onto a shred of their own dignity while awaiting the end of their lives. Featuring music by Haruomi Hosono.
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