In 1939, Sakura Nishi is a young army nurse who is sent to the field hospitals in China during the Sino-Japanese war. She has to assist the surgeon Dr. Okabe with an incredible number of ... See full summary »
Deals with the intolerably hard life of a family of four, the only inhabitants of a very small Japanese island in the Setonaikai archipelago. Several times a day they row over to the ... See full summary »
Depicts the life of a family in a remote Japanese timber village. Family head Tahara Kozo lives with his mother Sachiko, wife Yasuyo, nephew Eisuke and young daughter Michiru. Economic ... See full summary »
The Tokyo engineer Kariya arrives on a primitive tropical island to drill a well to provide water for the sugar mill. He is assisted on the island by Kametaro, from the inbred Futori family... See full summary »
Following the journey of a caterpillar along the Japanese islands from Nagasaki to Hokkaido, this allegorical and oblique first feature film by Kuroki depicts in exquisite images a series of encounters and life's turning points.
Traveling to Africa in a cultural exchange program, a young Japanese engineer discovers a world completely unlike the one he knows. His interaction with the Africans he meets reveals to him... See full summary »
The Aso family live in the old town of Nara. One Day, Kei, one of the Aso's twin boys suddenly disappears. Five years later seventeen-year old Shun, the remaining twin, is an art student. ... See full summary »
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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