you know when you first start watching a director who has a long and illustrious career only to discover he died? ok, thats pretty rare and im not sure if any of you have had that experience and i since i disabled comments on here (because im insecure and dont want speaking ill of me and my opinions) i will never know. i had that experience recently with the great shohei imamura. i say ballad and narayama and the emporer's naked army marches and was entranced by both of them. i know that the latter was directed by haro kazuo (sp?) but imamura was a strong creative force. i wasnt big on vengeance is mine but i am willing to revisit it. anyway, i know that we was a rebel in the vein of oshima and suzuki but i hadnt seen much of his masterworks (intentions of murder, the insect woman etc). so, thanks again to criterion for releasing something i wanted to watch.
and then i found out he died a couple years ago
oh well. i guess there wont be any more stuff to miss and i as plow through late godard maybe having an extensive late period isnt necessarily a good thing.
Pigs and Battleships isnt considered one of his best works and isnt listed on the TSPDT top 7000 list but it is still a very good and provocative film. it mixes the stylized sexuality and frustration of post war japan a la oshima and the gangster fascination of suzuki. the film was not terribly subtle but it wasnt meant to be. pigs was meant as a scathing indictment of the US occupation in post WWII and the japanese poor/gang culture.
Jitsuko Yoshimura was very impressive and her role as haruko really made drove this film together. as for the story itself, it was not that well congealed and a bit plodding and for the first hour, i was bored for long stretches. stylalistically, i loved the sharp B&W contrast and the anti-Ozu camera angles. ex. in table scenes, the camera initially is placed knee height and sores up to separate the viewer from the action distinctly. you cant get much more of depature from ozu than that.
spiritually it shares a lot with mizoguchi and his street of shame but without the aire of tragedy. i am looking forward to watching the insent woman and see how that compares