Nagisa Oshima's THE SUN'S BURIAL
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
Set in the post-war slums of, Oshima's follow-up and companion piece to Naked Youth, follows the lives and fates of the various pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts, vagrants, hustlers and gangsters who struggle to survive amid the poverty and decay of these hellish ghetto's. Unflinching in its portrayal of life at the very edge of existence, the film goes beyond documentary-style realism to achieve a garish, hyper-real aesthetic that is both repulsive and mesmerising. It's a pitiless and dispassionate portrait of a living hell that lurks beneath the facade of a prosperous new Japan, a place where everything - food, sex, even blood - is a commodity to be taken, stolen or sold.
While the title itself represents the symbolic end of the Japanese Empire, THE SUN'S BURIAL is also infused with Oshima's own growing militant politics. A protest not only against the (then) US military control of Japan, but also of the country's loss of national, cultural and spiritual identity. It is his scandalous and disgusted mockery of the nation's self-image as "the land of the rising sun" that marks this film as one of Oshima's most powerful and complex works.
colour. 1960. 87 min
- Jasper Sharp essay
"one of Oshima's best films" TV Guide
"mesmerizing, frenetic, and profoundly disturbing" Film Ref.com
"blatantly amoral and extravagantly violent " All Movie Guide
"Provocative... Visually beautiful, eerily cool." - Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Ruthless... Smouldering ...blazes with gaudy glory. A film of palpable heat." J. Hobermann, Village Voice