Oshima Nagisa

Oshima Nagisa

Date of Birth: 31.03.1932
Country: Japan

  1. Biography of Nagisa Oshima
  2. Early Career and Activism
  3. Founding "Eiga Hiho" and the "New Wave of Ofuna"
  4. Breakthrough Films
  5. Exploring New Cinematic Possibilities
  6. Collaboration with European Filmmakers
  7. Later Works and Television

Biography of Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima was born on March 31, 1932, in Kyoto, Japan. He came from a family of engineers with a samurai lineage. After losing his father at a young age, Oshima had to support himself.

Early Career and Activism

In April 1950, Oshima enrolled in the Law Faculty of Kyoto University. During his time there, he developed a passion for baseball and theater. He also became an activist in the student movement and gained the nickname "Red Student." After graduating from university, Oshima, along with several fellow theater activists, passed a difficult exam and was accepted as an assistant in the "Ofuna" studio department of the Shochiku Company in April 1954.

Founding "Eiga Hiho" and the "New Wave of Ofuna"

In 1956, Oshima and film critic Tadao Sato founded the magazine "Eiga Hiho" ("Film Criticism"). When the Shochiku Company faced financial crisis in the late 1950s, its producer, Shiro Kido, provided the opportunity for several assistants to independently direct films. Oshima, along with Seijun Suzuki, Yoshishige Yoshida, and Masahiro Shinoda, were among those chosen. Their works were later dubbed the "New Wave of Ofuna."

Breakthrough Films

Oshima's debut film was "Street of Love and Hope" (1959). His subsequent films, "Cruel Story of Youth" and "The Sun's Burial," established him as a leader among the directors of the new generation. However, after a conflict with the studio that prevented the release of his film "Night and Fog in Japan," Oshima left Shochiku and founded his own company, "Sozosha," in autumn 1960.

Exploring New Cinematic Possibilities

Under his own company, Oshima directed a series of films that sought to push the boundaries of cinematic language. These included "Violence at Noon" (1966), "The Ninja's Force of Art" (1967), "In the Realm of the Senses" (1967), "The Flesh of the Orchid" (1968), "Three Resurrected Drunkards" (1968), "Diary of a Shinjuku Thief" (1969), and "The Man Who Left His Will on Film" (1970). His film "Death by Hanging" (1968), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, brought him international recognition.

Collaboration with European Filmmakers

In the second half of the 1970s, Oshima began working with European filmmakers. He directed the controversial films "In the Realm of Passion" (1976) and "Empire of Passion" (1978), both of which received multiple prestigious awards. He also directed "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (1983), which starred David Bowie and Takeshi Kitano. In 1986, Oshima directed the dark comedy "Max, My Love" in France.

Later Works and Television

After a long hiatus, Oshima returned to filmmaking in 1999 with the film "Taboo." In addition to his film work, he has also been active in television, directing documentaries and writing books.