The decade of the 1960s encompassed a "New Wave" of films whose makers were rebels, challenging cinematic traditions and the culture at large. The films of the New Wave in Japan have, until now, been largely overlooked. Eros plus Massacre (taking its title from a 1969 Yoshida Yoshishige film) is the first major study devoted to the examination and explanation of Japanese New Wave film.
Desser organizes his volume around the defining motifs of the New Wave. Chapters examine in depth such themes as youth, identity, sexuality, and women, as they are revealed in the Japanese film of the sixties. Desser's research in Japanese film archives, his interviews with major figures of the movement, and his keen insight into Japanese culture combine to offer a solid and balanced analysis of films by Oshima, Shinoda, Imamura, Yoshida, Suzuki, and others.
The contemporary crestings of New Wave film movements in France, Germany, and Australia have been well documented. Now comes an introduction to the angry young men of 1960s Japanese cinema. Led by Nagisa Oshima, these directors sought to overthrow the cinematic conventions of their distinguished predecessors (Kurosawa, Ozu) and deal more honestly with postwar Japan. Aside from Oshima ( Realm of the Senses ; Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence ), few of these directors are known in the United States. Desser's scholarly study is broad, meticulous, and quite thorough, and may help to sheld light on their work. Thomas Wiener, formerly with ``American Film,'' Washington, D.C.