San Sebastian Sets Retrospective for Japanese Director Nagisa Oshima

merry Christmas Mr Lawrence - H 2012
courtesy of the San Sebastian Film Festival

The work of the iconic filmmaker includes "Taboo," "In the Realm of the Senses" and the David Bowie-starrer "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence."

The San Sebastian Film will next year honor iconic Japanese filmmaker Nagisa Oshima with a retrospective of his life's work.

The 80-year-old director was a key figure in Japan's so-called nuberu bagu (new wave) cinema of the 1960s. With his later productions, particularly the 1983 drama Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence starring David Bowie as a British solider in a Japanese prison camp,  Oshima become one of the best known Japanese filmmakers worldwide.

His work has always been marked by a desire to push boundaries and, often, by scandal as well. His sexually-explicit In the Realm of the Senses (1976) drew the ire of Japanese censors but earned worldwide critical acclaim. The same was true of his follow-up, Empire of Passion (1978), which won the Best Director prize in Cannes. Sexuality was the theme of his last feature film, Taboo (1999), which looked at homosexuality among the samurai.

For its retrospective, the San Sebastian festival will screen all of Oshimi's films. The presentation will be co-organized between the festival and the Filmoteca Española with the collaboration of The Japan Foundation.

The 61 San Sebastian Film Festival runs Sept. 20-28, 2013.