Firebrand auteur Nagisa Ōshima offers a devastating vision of moral rot within postwar Japanese society in the form of a hauntingly sad family tragedy. Inspired by a scandalous true story, Boy follows ten-year-old Toshio (Tetsuo Abe, an orphan whose real life mirrored the tumultuous upbringing of his character) whose grifter parents use him as a pawn in a scheme to stage car accidents and then extort money from the drivers. As the family crisscrosses Japan in an increasingly desperate attempt to elude the law, Toshio escapes into an imaginary world of science fiction fantasy and space aliens that he dreams will deliver him from his harrowing existence. Applying the blistering stylistic experimentation of his earlier Japanese New Wave touchstones with newfound restraint, Ōshima adopts a relatively sober docudrama approach that proves no less shocking and subversive in its emotionally annihilating portrait of a stolen childhood.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
DCP, 35 mm, Blu-ray, DVD
An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s gorgeous period reverie traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around a late 19th century Shanghai brothel, where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor yet forced to work to buy back their freedom.