Final Day! Thursday, January 23
$7.50 Member $13.00 Regular
Directed by NAGISA OSHIMA
NEW 35MM PRINT
(1969) Ten-year-old Tetsuo Abe claims he doesn’t think or feel — after all, he’s the fall guy for dad Fumio Watanabe and stepmom Akiko (Mrs. Oshima) Koyama’s traffic-accident-faking scam — but he still spins yarns about aliens from the Andromeda nebula for baby brother Tsuyoshi Kinoshita, takes a fifteen-bread-roll overnight train trip on his own, and covers for Koyama when she decides not to… Based on an actual 1966 incident, and filmed by a 15-person crew over constantly changing locations, with wild man of the Japanese New Wave Oshima’s characteristic long takes, plus shifts from color to b&w to all-blue or all-gold tinting; but with compassion in real-life orphan Abe’s performance, and even the one-year-old Kinoshita allowed a suicide-preventing dramatic climax. Approx. 105 min. 35mm.
A JANUS FILMS RELEASE
FILM OF THE WEEK!
"It’s a true nomad’s life, with high highs and very low lows. Coming of age stories don't get much bleaker... [but] Oshima never sentimentalizes Toshio's existence nor lets him off the hook for his crimes. But still we feel, deeply and profoundly, for this lost soul."
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"A MASTERPIECE... When it premiered on these shores at the '69 New York Film Festival — the same fest that would attempt to buck censors by showcasing Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses seven years later — this chronicle of a po-faced youngster bilking innocent citizens offered something completely different. This is what contemporary Japan looks like, it says: Not pillow shots and sword fights, just a country populated largely by predators and prey."
– David Fear, Village Voice
"At once the most contained and freakiest of Nagisa Oshima’s films, and its formal audacity induces gasps on the big screen."
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"Oshima masterfully treats the sordid melodrama with both formal ingenuity and a surprising amount of compassion."
– Dan Sullivan, The L Magazine
"Oshima steadily introduces little quirks into the ostensibly simple narrative: abrupt shifts in film stock, the use of distorting fisheye lenses, sudden disjunctions between sound and image. These cinematic tics serve to remind viewers that the screen is a canvas and not a window." – Budd Wilkin, Slant
"A beautiful yet damning meditation on post-WWII… an honest, quietly forceful film that Oshima claimed was his return to a more straightforward approach. The story moves as if in the absence of a camera, merely observing moments in a strange and broken family, husband and wife, father and son, crashing into one another. Boy is a haunting work, a reminder that society exists just this side of the traffic line. It is up to each individual to choose whether or not to cross it."
– Daniel Guzmán, Cinespect
"GRACEFUL PERFORMANCES… The family stays a step ahead of the law by keeping on the move; as the action ranges along picturesque towns on Japan's western coast and north to snowbound Hokkaido, Oshima depicts them sumptuously, contemplating teeming cityscapes and desolate byways in coolly ravishing wide-screen images."
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“EXTRAORDINARY! WEIRD, BEAUTIFUL AND TERRIFYING! UNDOUBTEDLY THE WORK OF A MAJOR DIRECTOR! Cool and remote, shot in bright, jewel colors, builds steadily and sleekly to a haunting climax.”
– Tom Milne, The Observer (London)
“Eschewing sentimentality and emotional excesses, a mosaic on the life of an errant family that gives them both a real and symbolical quality... Oshima has such constant flair and visual solidity that the film becomes a strange pilgrimage that does not make moral judgments.”
“Recalls the Truffaut of The 400 Blows but really goes much farther in penetrating individual psychology... A Western audience can catch a rare glimpse of a Japan stripped of samurai — gleaming trains, teeming traffic and the snow of the far north. The camera of Yasuhiro Yoshioka and Seizo Sengen transcends (without forsaking) documentary style with color photography of the highest order.”
“Offers a glimpse of a society fast-forwarded from tradition to defeat to consumption (in one shot, the red and white of a background Coca-Cola sign echo the national colors). Yet for all its cultural specificity, Boy is also universal, a stark portrayal of insidious familial corruption that leaves a 10-year-old boy emotionally maimed for life... Oshima shows not only the limitless depths of the parents’ exploitation (at one point, the father impairs the boy’s vision by forcing him to wear his stepmother’s spectacles lest she be recognized by the authorities), but a kind of spiritual murder of the son.”
– Megan Ratner, Film Comment
“One of Oshima’s most beautiful, restrained and accessible films... Making brilliant use of widescreen cinematography, Boy sets the family’s cross-country wanderings within a remarkable series of expressive landscapes and cityscapes.”
– Haden Guest