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.
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Long takes and a highly theatrical visual approach combine to form a tense and confrontational look at the decline of a socialist student activists' movement in Japan.
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1 hr 47 min