KIJU YOSHIDA: LOVE + ANARCHISM REVIEWED
Yoshida gets a major Blu-ray bow with “Love + Anarchism”. This trilogy of films focuses on the exploding Japanese Youth movement that hit the area around the same time that Hippies dominated the American West Coast. But, it’s also a biography of an early 20th century Japanese anarchist. How do these two ideas coincide? Plus, why do the last two movies have to share a disc?
Japanese cinema of the late 1960s takes a lot for Americans that were adapted to the impact of the Penn-Pakula years. Shooting styles were far more playful and bared a closer semblance to the French New Wave. Plus, the Japanese were playing with eroticism and carnal shots with a far more European push. These movies aren’t exploitative, but I wouldn’t call them classy. Again, I ask where do these films approach a cohesive ideal?
By the time I reached Coup D’Etat, I was wondering if I was watching an unfinished series. There are several big ideas that focus on life and how one pursues it. Still, these films keep pushing a weird intangible state that doesn’t quite win over the casual.
- Yoshida …or: The Explosion of the Story – a 30-minute documentary on Eros + Massacre with contributions from Yoshida and film critics Mathieu Capel and Jean Douchet
- Introductions to Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’etat by Yoshida
- Newly-filmed discussions of Eros + Massacre, Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’etat by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave, recorded exclusively for this release
- Scene-select commentaries by David Desser on all three films
- Heroic Purgatory theatrical trailer
- Coup d’etat theatrical trailer
- Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm
- Illustrated 80-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the films by David Desser, Isolde Standish (author of Politics, Porn and Protest: Japanese Avant-Garde Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s) and Dick Stegewerns
- 2.35:1, 1.33:1 1080p transfers
- LPCM 1.0 MONO
RELEASE DATE: 5/9/17
The Plot Thus Far
The work of Kiju Yoshida is one of Japanese cinema’s obscure pleasures. A contemporary of Nagisa Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses) and Masahiro Shinoda (Pale Flower, Assassination), Yoshida started out as an assistant to Keisuke Kinoshita before making his directorial debut at age 27. In the decades that followed he produced more than 20 features and documentaries, yet each and every one has proven difficult to see in the English-speaking world. This collection 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, presented here in both its 169-minute theatrical version and the full-length 220-minute director’s cut, tells the parallel stories of early 20th-century anarchist (and free love advocate) Sakae Osugi and a pair of student activists. Their stories interact and intertwine, resulting in a complex, rewarding work that is arguably Yoshida’s masterpiece. Heroic Purgatory pushes the dazzling cinematic language of Eros + Massacre even further, presenting a bleak but dreamlike investigation into the political discourses taking place in early seventies Japan. Coup d’état returns to the past for a biopic of Ikki Kita, the right-wing extremist who sought to overthrow the government in 1936. Yoshida considered the film to be the culmination of his work, promptly retiring from feature filmmaking following its completion.