The Japan Foundation, Sydney & ACMI Present
Japanese Film Festival 2023
Kо̄ Nakahira: A New Wave on the Shores of Japanese Cinema
JFF Special Series returns to ACMI in 2023 and proudly presents the work of filmmaker Kо̄ Nakahira (1926–78), a pioneering figure in post-war Japanese cinema.
Kо̄ Nakahira began his career as an assistant director at Shochiku Studio, where he worked alongside prominent directors, including Akira Kurosawa and Yūzō Kawashima. Later on Nakahira would move to Nikkatsu, where he made his directorial debut with Juvenile Jungle (1956). The film became an immediate cultural phenomenon that not only stirred controversy in Japan, but also became an important reference point for the international New Wave movement. Over his prolific twenty-year career, Nakahira’s subsequent experimentation across genres, narrative styles and cinematic forms culminated in over forty features that opened a new era in Japanese film.
Famous for making enemies of film critics with his straight talk, Nakahira was an outspoken stylist who prioritised a film’s visuals over the story itself. Often dubbed “the technique man" by his peers, Nakahira’s films reveal a diverse cinematography dedicated to freedom of form, as well as content that pushed the boundaries of mainstream cinema at the time. Nakahira's works shine a light on stifling conventions and restrictive attitudes towards sex in Japan’s post-war society, with a focus on characters who struggle to find purpose in a modern world they are still adapting to.
This Australia-first retrospective showcases a wide-ranging selection of films produced during Nakahira’s Nikkatsu period, during which he shot successive films with impressive speed. From stylish erotic thrillers to slapstick comedies, psychological melodramas and hardboiled action films, the program demonstrates Nakahira’s versatility across genres, a trait that would set him apart as one of the early transnational directors of the post-war era.
...sensitive people could hear the wails of a seagull heralding a new age in Japanese cinema.
Screening in cities across Australia, the JFF program will feature an expertly curated selection of films, from hot new releases alongside action, anime, drama, documentaries and more.
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