The Japanese New Wave of the late 1950s/early 1960s introduced the world to a number of rising directors who are now icons of cinema like Nagisa Oshima, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Shohei Imamura and Masahiro Shinoda but it has only been in recent years that Yoshishige Yoshida aka Kiju Yoshida has started to receive the belated acclaim he deserves. His 220-minute masterpiece Eros + Massacre (1969), which told the parallel stories of two student activists and Sakae Osugi, an anarchist and free love advocate, startled critics with its radical take on sex and politics, not to mention a fragmented narrative approach with unusual camera compositions of widescreen black and white imagery. Long before that, Yoshida learned his trade at Shochiku Studio at a time when the company began making films about the disaffected post-war generation such as Oshima’s Cruel Story of Youth (Seishun Zankoku Monogatari, 1960) and Good-for-Nothing (Rokudenashi, 1960), Yoshida’s debut film about an aimless youth and his attraction to the secretary of a rich friend’s father. The director would eventually part ways with Shochiku over creative differences and start his own production company in 1964 but his final movie for the studio, Escape from Japan (Nihon Dasshutsu, 1964), shows Yoshida imposing his own aesthetic and stylistic approach to what is essentially a B-movie melodrama.
Gkids is a New York based film distributor that represents Japan’s famous Studio Ghibli with such family-friendly animation features as My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) as well as more adult oriented titles like the harrowing WW2 survival tale Grave of the Fireflies (1988) and the Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita (2010), a passionate love story set in pre-revolution Cuba. Salvador Simo’s Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, one of Gkid’s recent acquisitions, belongs in the latter category and is currently playing selected theaters in the U.S. with an iTunes streaming release in the near future. Continue reading →