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Eros + Massacre (1969)

directed by Kiju Yoshida
featuring Mariko Okada, Toshiyuki Hosokawa, Yuko Kusunoki, Toshiko Li, Daijiro Harada

About this title: Stories of two eras of Japanese history play out in parallel in this drama from one of the leading directors of the Japanese New Wave, Yoshishige Yoshida. In the 1910s, Osugi Sakae (Hosokawa Toshiyuki) is an outspoken anarchist who is famous for his calls for sexual freedom. Sakae lives the lifestyle he espouses to others and has three lovers, though not all he women in his life are content with this arrangement, and his flouting of contemporary mores has made him more than a few enemies. In time, a tragic fate awaits him after a massive earthquake hits Japan. Fifty years later, Japan is a more open-minded place, and a handful of college students discuss their political ideals and desire to change their culture for the better as they trade sexual partners among one another. Generally considered to be Yoshida's masterpiece, Eros + Massacre was also the director's first film to be released outside Japan; it was originally released in a version running 168 minutes, though a longer version preferred by Yoshida exists which runs 202 minutes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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