World cinema has lost one of its giants today, as director and auteur Nagisa Oshima has died. He was 82.
The filmmaker, best known for his envelope and taboo pushing films like In The Realm Of The Senses and Empire Of Passion, was an award winning filmmaker (including a Best Picture win at the Cannes Film Festival), and while his last film, 1999’s Taboo is long in the rear view mirror, the director’s body of work is one of the greatest collections of films from any director of his era.
The Criterion Collection is definitely a fan of the filmmaker, as he not only has a handful of films available through their major line, but also an entire Eclipse box pertaining to his “Outlaw Sixties” period, and fans will be melancholy to know that while their filmmaker has passed he, unlike his films, went “calmly,” according to the late director’s son. He suffered a handful of strokes later in his life, and with much of the past few years of his life finding the auteur in ill health, he has passed on.
Personally, this loss is a painful one. Arguably the most underrated and unsung auteur of his generation, while fans of Asian cinema point to names like Ozu and Kurosawa, the one Asian filmmaker who hooked me in earliest was Oshima. With the energetic and anarchic introductions like Senses and Passion, one then jumps through hoops to try and find the rest of the director’s canon, which is as, if not more, full of life and kinetic vitality, proving that while he was a provocateur, he was an auteur first and foremost.
He will be missed.