Those who are familiar with the literature of Murakami Haruki are sure to be familiar with the Zenkyoto, Joint Struggle Councils, student movement that spread throughout Japanese universities during the 1960s resulting in the temporary halt of classes at a number of schools, including Waseda and Tokyo University. However, of course, the Zenkyoto was not the first leftist student movement in Japan. Another and better organized one was the Zengakuren which organized workers, students, and left-leaning intellectuals against the Japanese State.
It is during this time that Oshima Nagisa's film _Night and Fog in Japan_ was filmed, 1960. Soon after the failed attempt to halt the signing of the AMPO, Japan-United States Security Treaty, a young protester named Reiko marries the older journalist Nozawa. However, all is not revolution and roses because other members of the group have beef not only with Nozawa, but with the group's leader Nakayama and his wife Misako.
What follows is a series of flashbacks showing the days in which Ozawa, Nakayama, Misako, and several others were leftist students. Marxist ideologies are thick, but in fighting and lust are thicker, and the viewer witnesses several cases of personal disputes and the vacuous preachings of Nakayama who while talking about the equality of man seduces Misako away from Ozawa because of his wealth.
This is an interesting movie, but it might be quite slow for some. Mainly the film consists of arguments between the characters, but for those interested in Japanese Leftist movements, this should prove quite entertaining.
Reviewed by Atavisten8 / 10
Personal disputes in a Marxist movement
A record of a time in the university-based 'Zengakuren'(?)(thanks meganeguard)this.
Economic and direct, this is almost two hours cut out of a student Marxist movement and its feuds. The setting is a wedding between two members which is happy and well until one comes from a demonstration with low attendance, the protesters were outnumbered by police, and fires out accusations against the bride and groom for falling out of the movement in favour of family idyll. From then on the disputes hail down in machine gun fashion ripping up 10 year old history which in fact doesn't stop, but just gets faded down at the end of the movie! Everyone is dead serious and strong-willed. We watch them with distance, not sympathizing with any. The settings in which this event takes place are as good as invisible. For great dramatic effect they get toned down by turning off the light and spotlighting the central characters (of which there are a few) instead. All is theater-style. Making it a play instead would make little difference.
Specialist tackle, as this is exclusively about this movement and its key characters this is for those interested in leftist movements only!
Reviewed by crossbow01067 / 10
Talking About A Revolution
This movie begins with a wedding. Nice, right? No, not really. The guests all look kind of grim. Instead of lauding the bride and groom, they are speaking of the demonstrations against the Japan Security Treaty, a controversial act of its time. In the first scene the camera moves a bit haphazardly, which I'm certain is on purpose. Little lighting tricks like spotlights accentuate this tale of a group of youngish (all younger than 35, I'd say) fighting for their rights. This movie could have been a play, its staged that way. Whether you're interested depends on your sense of history. I admit to having little knowledge of the treaty, so this film makes the subject worth exploring. This film got the director fired from his film studio, so you know the film is gutsy. So, if you know about the treaty or want to learn, this is a well made film. It is just not for everyone.