Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Shiiku
Japan, 1961. Palace Productions, Taiho. Screenplay by Toshiro Ishido, Toshio Matsumoto, Tsutomu Tamura, Teruaki Tomatsu, based on the novel by Kenzaburo Oe. Cinematography by Yoshitsugu Tonegawa. Produced by Masayuki Nakajima, Saburo Tajima. Music by Riichiro Manabe. Production Design by Itsuro Hirata. Film Editing by Miyuri Miyamori.
A black American pilot is downed in his airplane and captured by Japanese villagers in this odd, sometimes captivating drama. Military police officials instruct the village to hold on to their captive until he can be dealt with officially, but their delay in taking care of the matter has dire circumstances. Soon, the squabbling, illogical villagers find themselves blaming their prisoner for their problems, their conflicts and, eventually, their crimes. Nagisa Oshima’s grimy tale of racism and xenophobia features some great acting and very cool cinematography, but its characters often veer into caricature and the film isn’t always thoroughly compelling as a result. The story is interesting but at times a bit too obscure for the conventional film watcher, however the more adventurous will find lots to enjoy.