Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
A metaphysical mystery involving a university student's camera getting stolen, and the thief then committing suicide. Looking back upon the event, the situation comes to be questioned if it happened at all.
19yo girl loses husband in war. Bombing destroys his family's shop and the widow stays to rebuild it as the rest of the family flee and runs it for 18 years out of love for her dead husband... See full synopsis »
A rhythmically edited alphabet composed of street and shop signs shot in New York City and other elements is gradually replaced by repeated seemingly abstract shots in this influential structuralist film.
Near a remote Buddhist monastery, a young man falls in love with his sister and gets her pregnant. After a monk finds out, the young man becomes an assistant to a master sculptor, only to proceed to complicate matters with his affairs.
Director and creator of this movie, Susumu Hani was one of the directors who were known for his avant garde movie making style. There were others in his league such as Nagisa Ooshima, and Kiju Yoshida that formed Japanese New Wave cinema movement. Hani himself had an avant garde lifestyle getting divorced from his wife finding out that he was having an affair with her sister, and Hani later marrying the sister of his ex-wife.
Hatsukoi Jigokuhen was an experimental movie made in the late '60s when Japan was experiencing new culture movement influenced by the Hippie culture. Most of Japan's avant garde films are from this period.
This movie was made for the youth of the time. It depicts the difficulties that the youth were experiencing at the time such as college entrance exam, country girl coming to Tokyo and having to work as a nude model to supplement her income, and a boy who's relationship with her is his first love. Both Kuniko Iwai who played Nanami and Akio Takahashi who played Shun were new comers into the movie business. I believe the little girl who played Mami is Hani's own four year old daughter Mio Hani.
While other directors who were part of the avant garde movement were seriously seeking new forms of liberal expression with various success, I believe that Hani has bona fide insanity about his approach. The movie shows the underground culture that existed in Japan at the time, but there are segments that are not related to the story that borders on child porn, SM element in what goes on inside the underground clubs.
All of the avant garde movies that came out of Japan are very quiet. Conversations are all quiet and slow, and so is the progress of the story. And all talk about free spirited people, that in many ways live irresponsible lives. In the end the style seemed to have failed to set new direction, and people lost interest in this style of movie. Looking at them 40 years later is interesting in seeing the society of Japan during that time.
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