Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#126 Post by knives » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:20 pm

On the topic of filling gaps, has Yoshida gotten any of his films released outside of Japan.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#127 Post by Steven H » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:30 pm

knives wrote:On the topic of filling gaps, has Yoshida gotten any of his films released outside of Japan.
I'm pretty sure his entire output is available on DVD in France (with just French subtitles).

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#128 Post by knives » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:01 pm

That's unfortunate. You'd think that at least Eros Plus Massacre would have seen an english subbed release. Though I'm most curious about his adaptation (?) of Wuthering Heights.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#129 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:05 pm

Yes, all of Yoshida's features are out in France in two big box sets and individual releases (some double features) of the later ones. Eros Plus Massacre includes both versions, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought they'd never get a chance to see the uncensored long cut, which is radically different in structure and focus, since the censorship involved basically cutting out the film's third lead. French subs only for all, including the excellent brief but revealing director intros, but well worth the effort if you have a smattering. All eyes are on Criterion and MoC (or Second Run?) for the first port. Several instant Eclipse sets ready to go here.

There's a Yoshida thread around where I discussed all of the films as I worked my way through them.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#130 Post by Peacock » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:29 pm

But isn't the problem ATG? For some reason France never seems to have a problem with that, but the UK and US largely seem to be affected...

And not to be dour, but does Oshima's sister passing away affect the likelihood of the ATG titles getting releases in the West, I remember another thread on the forum mentioning she was running his estate..

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#131 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:06 pm

I think Heroic Purgatory and Coup d'Etat were Yoshida's only ATG films (and as far as I can tell, France has just as much of a problem getting ahold of Oshima's ATG films as any other region. I don't believe any of them have been released on DVD there.)

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#132 Post by Peacock » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:22 pm

Apologies, for some reason I thought Death by Hanging and another had been released in France.
I don't have the Desser book, but according to imdb, Eros plus Massacre and Confessions Among Actresses were both distributed by ATG.

But aren't several of the ATG Oshimas available in Japan? If ATG and the whole rights-reverting-to-various-people thing was the reason these films aren't available, would that not mean those handling domestic and international rights were one and the same?

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#133 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:46 pm

There does clearly seem to be a problem with ATG films in general, but I think a lot of the finer detail is pure speculation. In some cases it might be individual indifference or orneriness, but I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with elements being held by entities other than the rightsholders? Surely somebody around here has more information.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#134 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:51 am

With all the discussion about title translations in this thread, I don't think anyone has pointed out that "Japanese Summer: Double Suicide" is a mistranslation. The Japanese title actually translates as Forced Double Suicide (i.e., murder-suicide). The distinction is made explicitly in the last two lines of dialogue in the film, but the last line is mistranslated in the subtitles as well. I haven't read Desser or Turim's books, so I don't know if this issue is raised elsewhere, but it seems rather significant to understanding the film. Even with my very crude comprehension of spoken Japanese, I noticed a couple of other small mistakes in the subtitle translation, which make me think that some of the confusion people have expressed about Oshima's intent in this film is at least partly due to inadequate translation.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#135 Post by otis » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:21 am

fred wrote: the last line is mistranslated in the subtitles as well
So what's the correct translation?

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#136 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:34 am

otis wrote:So what's the correct translation?
The subtitles give the last lines as:

- This is perfect, isn't it? Because were dying together.
- Yes. It's a double suicide.

But the actual dialogue is:

- [...] 心中だ。
- 無理心中だ。

- [...] It's a double suicide.
- [Grunts] It's a murder-suicide.

The final line is delivered while looking straight at the camera, as if directly addressing the audience. It couldn't be more clear that the distinction is meaningful. This dissolves into an image of the Hinomaru, which in turn dissolves into a long shot of the city, at which point, just in case you missed it, the title of the film reappears (subtitled with the incorrect title): 無理心中日本の夏 [Murder-Suicide: Japanese Summer].

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#137 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:53 am

What's your source for the claim that "shinju" does not mean "double suicide" (or traditional lover's suicide)? If your only basis is translating each kanji character separately, you are on the wrong track. ;~}

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#138 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:08 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:What's your source for the claim that "shinju" does not mean "double suicide" (or traditional lover's suicide)? If your only basis is translating each kanji character separately, you are on the wrong track. ;~}
Well, that's not my claim. Shinju does in fact mean double suicide. Which is why I translated it that way in the first line of dialogue above. But the second line of dialogue and the title of the film both use the phrase muri shinju which does not, in fact, mean double suicide.

Online Japanese dictionary

I also confirmed this with a native-speaker.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#139 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:40 am

For murishinju I come up only with forced suicide -- not murder-suicide. Muri by itself means "unreasonable, impossible" (and a little more broadly, I think, pointless).

I wonder if a shinju in which _both_ parties felt compelled to die together (rather than both feeling they had freely chosen and accepted such course of action) might also be considered murishinju.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#140 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:02 am

I certainly can't attest to every possible usage, but I'll tell you what I was told by a native speaker, which is that it literally means "forced double suicide" but that it's specifically a euphemism for when one party kills another than takes their own life, i.e., murder-suicide. That is, one party is "suicided" against their will by the other. It isn't remotely romantic and the two concepts are only related by idiom. The conventional English title (not to mention Criterion's subtitles) is a mistranslation that distorts the meaning of the original. It's a pretty bad mistake given that the last two lines of the film make the distinction completely explicit.

Edit: Here's a Japanese Japanese-English dictionary which gives the translation I've suggested.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#141 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:22 am

I'm not arguing about your translation -- but just wondering about the significance of the use of the term in the context of the film.

I'm not recalling the precise details of the ending -- but my sense was not that one character was compelling the other to commit suicide (or murdering the other) -- but that _they_ both felt society had left them no choice. Am I remembering the ending wrong? (It's been a while)

Perhaps the use of the term here is metaphorical?

So many standard English titles of Japanese films are so bad that the existence of yet another fails to surprise me.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#142 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:57 am

I don't think it's a question at that point of one character compelling the other to suicide. The woman, who clearly has a screw lose (and says so), suggests that them dying together is a romantic double suicide. The man responds with a play on words by saying that it's actually a murder-suicide, but he isn't referring so much to the immediate events, as to the allegorical level of the narrative, a point made clear by the dissolve to the Hinomaru. Japan is the deceased.

To be honest, I found the film a little opaque, but I think that was in part a failing of the subtitles. As I've said, I'm far from being able to detect every error in the subtitles, but I did notice a couple nuances that made certain aspects a little more clear, which leads me to believe that there are likely to be still more problems that went entirely unnoticed.

I certainly agree that the standard English titles of Japanese films are frequently appalling. This case, in conjunction with the mistranslation of the last lines of dialogue, seems uniquely bad in that it neuters the point being made in the ending of the film. The mistranslation of the title of the film known in English as Killing in Yoshiwara is unfortunate, but doesn't really interfere with your understanding of the film.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#143 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:11 pm

> Killing in Yoshiwara

You mean "Tale of the Accursed Sword: One hundred Flowers of Yoshiwara struck down" ;~}

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#144 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:35 pm

That's the one! How anyone could take a title like that and replace it with "Killing in Yoshiwara" is beyond me...

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#145 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:50 pm

fred wrote:That's the one! How anyone could take a title like that and replace it with "Killing in Yoshiwara" is beyond me...
The same kind of toning down you get by turning Ozu's "A Lovely Fall Day" into "Late Autumn".

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#146 Post by fred » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:19 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:"Late Autumn"
Well it is the best translation Ozu's film titles got in the 60s. :roll:

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#147 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:44 pm

fred wrote:
Michael Kerpan wrote:"Late Autumn"
Well it is the best translation Ozu's film titles got in the 60s. :roll:
True enough.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#148 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:14 pm

knives wrote:Also, where's DH with the rest of his input? Too busy hunting Jackalope?
Oh hi, thread. So, my Oshima experiences have been much more YMMV since Pleasures of the Flesh. I've already extrapolated on In the Realm of the Senses in its thread, and frankly I forgot Cruel Story of Youth immediately after viewing, but Violence at Noon has brought me back in to the fold. To be honest, its greatest achievement might simply be not being nearly as lurid or regrettable as the plot description made it sound! As a study in conflicted desires, its fragmentary editing indulges the audience in a bit of the characters' murky emotional state as the two women grapple with their internal sexual impetuses. That the man at the center is a vile subhuman embodiment of rampant sexuality is all the better: it's not about him at all, but their failure to actively deal with his actions in any healthy way. A common thread I've seen in Oshima's films thus far is a proclivity for characters driven by internal obsessions that they don't entirely seem aware of, much less capable of acknowledging as aberrant, and the muddled state of the Maid and the Ma'am here is intriguing for as much as is sketchy as is filled in.

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#149 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:27 pm

...and Sing a Song of Sex is unfortunately what happens when Oshima lets vile sexual proclivities run rampant over everything in their path. I am not sure what the film's aims were (and I am skeptical of the liner notes' "dream" defense) but I know that the four disgusting dudes at the center of this mess were among the most aggressively revolting characters I've been forced to spend time with in a film and Oshima seems to indulge their whims far more than he offers commentary decrying their antics. So much needless rape flippancy and a drinking song that like bad VD just won't go away only add to the negative pleasures of this picture. I praised the other two films I've seen from this set for avoiding misogyny while being about misogyny, but this one has more than enough of the real thing to make up for the earlier lack. Vom

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Re: Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

#150 Post by Sam T. » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:45 pm

domino harvey wrote:...and Sing a Song of Sex is unfortunately what happens when Oshima lets vile sexual proclivities run rampant over everything in their path. I am not sure what the film's aims were (and I am skeptical of the liner notes' "dream" defense) but I know that the four disgusting dudes at the center of this mess were among the most aggressively revolting characters I've been forced to spend time with in a film and Oshima seems to indulge their whims far more than he offers commentary decrying their antics. So much needless rape flippancy and a drinking song that like bad VD just won't go away only add to the negative pleasures of this picture. I praised the other two films I've seen from this set for avoiding misogyny while being about misogyny, but this one has more than enough of the real thing to make up for the earlier lack. Vom
I hope not to be drawn into a debate I can't win here, since I read this forum too often not to know in advance, Dom, that your opinions are reasonable, your tastes sound, and your dismissals never knee-jerk. But I want to speak up for Sing a Song of Sex because it is my favorite movie. Not my favorite Oshima movie or even my favorite Criterion movie but my favorite movie period. I can certainly see that there are valid reasons for smart and sophisticated viewers to hate it, but here's why I like it:

No other film that I've seen so fearlessly delves into the ways that straight-male sexuality interacts with various kinds of oppression: misogyny, racism, nationalist-nativism, US cultural imperialism, any probably some that I'm forgetting. I see it as a particularly searing indictment of a kind of hippy/counterculture faith in liberation and pleasure which Oshima seems to think has taken over left-wing common sense in Japan; this takeover he sees, furthermore, as part of a general failure on Japan's part to develop an indigenous counterculture. The nativists in the movie tend to be right wing, and the left wingers in the movie tend to be caught up in an American-style peace movement that is too connected with fashion and consumerism to offer a genuine alternative to Cocacola imperialism.

Two characters seem to stand genuinely outside of this paradigm, and these two each offer a political vision that rejects both xenophobia and imperialism, that celebrates sexuality without being naive about it's relationship to violence, and that connects to a sense of tradition without doing so in the name of racism or xenophobia:
SpoilerShow
the professor (whose name escapes me right now) and Kanade.
These are, not coincidentally, the two characters who introduce the bawdy songs to which the title refers.
SpoilerShow
They are also the two characters whom the four boys most glaringly fail to protect.
I won't pretend to know exactly what that means, but I think it constitutes enough of a pattern that I'm willing to think through the film until I understand it better, confident that I'm headed toward something.

Most compelling to me is Kanade,
SpoilerShow
who's "woman's song" - sung in the voice of a Korean prostitute addressing a Japanese soldier - introduces a way of talking about sex that foregrounds how it can be used as tool of racist, sexist, imperialist, and economic oppression all at once; but her song still manages a kind of melancholy recognition of what is pleasurable in sex, too. It's a really beautiful moment, and one for which she pays an agonizing price.
Sex, Oshima seems to be saying, and in particular the willingness to sing/talk explicitly about sex, does have the potential to make us more free, but the sanitized, consumer-friendly, so-called "sexual revolution" coming from the west will only liberate those who already blandly reject every moral code; for women, racial minorities, and those who seek to see sex as something other than mere entertainment, this revolution will only make things worse, and expose them to new dangers.
SpoilerShow
The professor is killed so that his song can be emptied of its political content; Kanede is raped because she dared to think, as a woman of Korean decent, the new sexual liberalism might give her a voice and an audience - might allow her to present a song in which the sexual and political content were inseparable.
Again, I don't pretend to understand every piece of the puzzle, but I feel like I get it enough to recognize that the film puts Oshima years ahead of someone like Foucault as a thinker who welcomes an end to censorship and right wing moralism, but sees through the hollow claims of the sexual revolution, and recognizes that the new sexual liberalism, in its current form, retains almost everything repugnant about the conservatism it seeks to replace. It offers, ominously, a way for men to claim a kind of fashionable progressivism while, in the name of that very progresivism and openness, silencing women's voices and continuing to ignore their unique experience of oppression.

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