Nagisa Oshima, a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for his controversial 1976 movie, In The Realm Of The Senses, died Tuesday afternoon at a hospital near Tokyo. He was 80.
“My father died calmly,” Oshima’s younger son Arata told AFP. “He was with members of his family, wife Akiko and elder son Takeshi. I wasn’t there. My father had been in hospital since late last year and died of pneumonia.”
Born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, Nagisa Oshima graduated from Kyoto University and went to work for the film production company Shochiku Ltd.
While with Shochiku, Oshima rebelled against what he saw as conventional film-making and quickly progressed to directing his own movies, making his debut feature A Town of Love and Hope in 1959.
He left Shochiku after his 1960 film Night and Fog in Japan was abruptly pulled from theaters three days after its release.
Despite releasing more than 20 films that pushed the boundaries of social acceptability, Oshima’s ultimate work of controversy is without a doubt 1976′s In The Realm Of The Senses, a film still discussed today for its near pornographic depictions of sex and violence.
The movie, which tells sexually explicit story of an affair between a prostitute-turned-hotel worker and her boss, was heavily censored around the globe upon its release and has still never been shown in its entirety in Japan.
Empire of Passion, Oshima’s companion film to In the Realm of the Senses, won him the best director award at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1978.
After suffering a stroke in 1996, Oshima briefly returned to filmmaking in 1999 to release his last movie Taboo, a samurai period drama that struggles with homosexuality.