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10 - 30 September 2018: Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism


"A legendary figure of the postwar Japanese cinema, Kiju Yoshida is one of Japan's most artistically ambitious, politically astute and influential filmmakers. Yoshida is best known for his work with the spellbinding Mariko Okada, one of the most beloved and celebrated actresses of her generation, and one of the great stars of the Japanese New Wave. Working together with Okada, Yoshida created an incredible body of films unparalleled for their formal sophistication, philosophical depth and sheer beauty. [...] In 1969 the couple worked together on their most ambitious project, and one of the most important examples of Japanese counter-cinema, Eros + Massacre, a soaring and inspired exploration of the history of radical art and politics in modern Japan. Yoshida's subsequent films have each bravely tackled critical and politically charged topics while continuing to explore the limits and rich ambiguities of the cinema as an artistic and narrative medium." – Harvard Film Archive

This season brings together three works from the late sixties and early seventies, a loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style.

Eros + Massacre
Kiju Yoshida
1969 | 215 min | B/W | Digital
Japanese with English subtitles

One of the great late works of the Japanese New Wave, Yoshida’s enduring masterpiece offers an epic and extraordinary vision of unconventional desire as a potent yet ultimately untenable mode of political resistance. Confronting a dark moment in modern Japanese history, Eros + Massacre chronicles the final days of prominent feminist Noe Ito – beautifully portrayed by Mariko Okada – and her lover, the firebrand anarchist Sakae Osugu, leading up to their brutal assassination in 1923 by the military authorities. read more

Heroic Purgatory
Kiju Yoshida
1970 | 118 min | B/W | Digital
Japanese with English subtitles

A more condensed and intense dose of Yoshida-ness, in which a student gaggle of would-be terrorists angst about their communal non-action, a strange runaway teen infiltrates the lives of a middle-class couple, and characters keep taking off wigs, revealing that they’re someone else. read more

Coup d’état
Kiju Yoshida
1973 | 110 min | B/W | Digital
Japanese with English subtitles 

A remarkable portrait of Ikki Kita, the controversial militarist who led the notorious February 26, 1836 coup later fetishised by Yukio Mishima. Yoshida's first non-widescreen feature, Coup d'état brilliantly exploits the smaller format with stunning, sharply modernist cinematography and mise-en-scène that favours unusual, off-kilter compositions and works to heighten the claustrophobia of Kia's increasing paranoia and delusion. read more