Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sex and Fury

Sing a Song of Sex (1967) - OshimaImage
It's 1967. High School students are finishing their college entrance exam. Four friends have only one thing their puny minds - sex. A girl who sat at a desk #469 in exam becomes an obsession. After the night of drinking with a hunky teacher and some girls, learning dirty sex songs and fantasizing about raping #469, they find their teacher dead in the morning in what appears to be an accidental death. With the help of the dead teacher's girlfriend, they confront #469.

Oshima's provocative film takes place in the background of flurry of political activities, shot in beautiful anarmorphic - a march against National Foundation day, petition drive against Vietnam War and singalong of protest songs in English. As one of the boys, Nakamura, faults his passivity for the death of their teacher who preferred bawdy songs of the working people rather than songs of nationalistic fervor, the film equates boys' pent up sexual desire to the political action. Further condemning and destroying the myth of the rise of Japanese Nationalism, it ends with the reenactment of the fantasy rape (the boys couldn't go through with it even in fantasy because they wouldn't know how) with the speech about how Japan's first emperor was of Korean ancestry. Complex and fiercely political, Sing a Song of Sex has a real bite to it.

Sing a Song of Sex plays part of MoMA Presents: ATG and Japanese Underground Cinema, 1960-1986.

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