Tag Archives: Yoshiko Kuga

Nagisa Oshima – Seishun Zankoku Monogatari AKA Cruel Story of Youth (1960)

Nagisa Oshima’s groundbreaking film opens with young, attractive Mako and her friend hitching a ride from an old man. After her friend leaves, the man tries to rape her, and she is saved only by the handsome Kiyoshi. Later, against the background of the tumultuous 1960 U.S./Japan Security Treaty demonstrations, Kiyoshi and Mako walk along a grungy seaside lumberyard while talking about sex. He attempts to kiss her, she slaps him, and he throws her in the water. She cries out that she can’t swim. When she continues to refuse his advances, he steps on her fingers as she clings to a log. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Okuman choja aka A Billionaire (1954)

A full description of the film can be found in James Quandt’s edited collection of writings on (and by) Ichikawa Kon from the Cinemateque Ontario (in Sato Tadao’s essay “Kon Ichikawa” on pages 109 – 111). A Billionaire was one of a handful of 50s comedies that Ichikawa directed that were extremely successful at the box office. These films were characterized by rapid-fire dialogue and biting social commentary (others like this include Pu-San and Mr Lucky). This is definitely a period of Ichikawa’s career that deserves more focus from the West. Read More »