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The Desert Archipelago (1969)

Mujin rettô (original title)
A young man brought up in a nunnery escapes from the abusive nuns into the disconcerting outside world.


Katsu Kanai


Katsu Kanai (screenplay), Yuki Miyata (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Credited cast:
Kazuko Aoki Kazuko Aoki
Jun Arai Jun Arai ... Nun B
Ayuko Asakawa Ayuko Asakawa ... Nun G
Ben Hiura Ben Hiura
Machiko Itô Machiko Itô ... Nun C
Shin'ichi Iwata Shin'ichi Iwata
Junjirô Kamijô Junjirô Kamijô
Misa Kanehira Misa Kanehira ... Nun D
Miyako Kasai Miyako Kasai ... Nun E
Yoshihiro Katô Yoshihiro Katô
Akira Kubo Akira Kubo
Kazuyoshi Kushida Kazuyoshi Kushida ... Hidekuni
Katsunori Makabe Katsunori Makabe
Masao Matsuba Masao Matsuba
Katsumi Muramatsu Katsumi Muramatsu


A young man brought up in a nunnery escapes from the abusive nuns into the disconcerting outside world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy







Release Date:

25 April 1969 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Desert Archipelago See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kanai Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

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User Reviews

Great Surreal Movie from Experimental Director Katsu Kanai
20 April 2008 | by kagetsuhisokaSee all my reviews

If you like surreal Japanese director's like Shuji Terayama, Toshio Matsumoto, or, most recently Takashi Miike, check this movie by one of the most underrated experimental director ever.

Director's comment: The Desert Archipelago was my first independently directed and produced film. The film won the Grand Prix at the Nyon Internationa Film Festival and garnered considerable attention both overseas and in Japan. The film follows the extremely simple story of an ugly boy who is manipulated by nuns as he matures into a man, but woven into that narrative are my own experiences and the history of postwar Japan as well as numerous fantasies. The result is a multifaceted and multilayered objet, the birth of a newly sur-realistic film-making. On August 15th, the day the war ended, I was in the third year of primary school. That day, when the reality that I had known turned completely upside down, I was saddled with the trauma of no longer being able to believe in anything. Searching here and there for some kind of spiritual salvation, I finally found the existentialism of Albert Camus. From there, I was able to build up my own kind of existentialism and this film is best understood as based in that "Kanai Katsu Existentialism." The film was praised by European film scholars Max Tessier and Tony Rayns and was screened as part of "Eiga: 25 Years of Japanese Film," a special program at the 1984 Edinburgh International Film Festival..

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