Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nihon shunka-ko

Sing a Song of Sex. JP 1967. PC: Sozosha. P: Takuji Yamaguchi. D: Nagisa Oshima. SC: Tsutomu Tamura, Mamoru Sasaki, Toshio Tajima, Nagisa Oshima. DP: Akira Takada - Shochiku Grandscope 2,35:1 - colour. AD: Jusho Toda. M: Hikaru Hayashi. ED: Keiichi Uraoka. GRADUATE BOYS: Ichiro Araki (Toyoaki Nakamura), Koji Iwabuchi (Hideo Ueda), Kazumi Kushida (Katsumi Hiro), Hiroshi Sato (Koji Maruyama). GRADUATE GIRLS: Nobuko Miyamoto (Sanae Satomi), Hiroko Masuda (Tomoko Ikeda), Hideko Yoshida (Sachido Kaneda, Korean). - Ichimo Itami (Professor Otake), Akiko Koyama (Takako Tanigawa), Kazuko Tajima (Mayuko Fujiwara, 69). 103 min. Print: Japan Foundation, with English subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 Aug 2009. - The colour print looks great to begin with, but the definition of light is uneven. - One of Oshima's most disturbing films. - It is winter in Tokyo. Graduates from the countryside want to enter Tokyo University. Their mentor, Professor Otake, invites them to a pub and they sing together old Japanese bawdy songs. The professor is killed at night in an inn in a gas oven accident. - Akiko Koyama plays the late professor's long-term lady friend. - The story takes place on the resurrection of the Emperor's Day, the celebration of which had been banned during the U.S. occupation. There is a demonstration against it, where workers' songs, the Warsawjanka, "This Land Is Our Land", "We Shall Overcome", etc. are sung along. - The film is almost a musical. - The protagonists interrupt the rebellious singing with bawdy songs, male and female. But the bawdy songs have also a strong dimension of social protest. - Also here there is a Korean theme: the origin of the Japanese is in Korea. - The film is deeply nihilistic and pessimistic. The boy students' sexual fantasies are violent, about raping and humiliation. The young generation does not seem better than the old one. - The girls' fantasies seem to be about being dominated, humiliated and raped, willingly. - Despite the title, there is hardly any sex and only fleeting nudity in this film. - It's more about extreme awkwardness and shyness in sexual matters.

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