Japanese Film Festival 2023: Kō Nakahira Special Series

Three Japanese teenagers, two boys in the background and a girl looking back over her shoulder in the foreground.
30 September - 01 October
See session times below
Arc Cinema
Free, bookings essential

Japanese Film Festival Special Series returns to Arc Cinema in 2023 with a showcase of the work of filmmaker Kо̄ Nakahira (1926-1978), a pioneering figure in postwar Japanese cinema. 

Nakahira began his career as an assistant director at Shochiku Studio, where he worked alongside prominent directors including Akira Kurosawa and Yūzō Kawashima. Later on, Nakahira moved to Nikkatsu, where he made his directorial debut with Juvenile Jungle (1956). The film became an immediate cultural phenomenon that not only stirred controversy in Japan, but also became an important reference point for the international New Wave movement.

Over his prolific 20-year career, Nakahira’s subsequent experimentation across genres, narrative styles and cinematic forms culminated in over 40 features that opened a new era in Japanese film.

Famous for making enemies of film critics with his straight talk, Nakahira was an outspoken stylist who prioritised a film’s visuals over the story itself. Often dubbed ‘the technique man’ by his peers, Nakahira’s films reveal a diverse cinematography dedicated to freedom of form, as well as content that pushed the boundaries of mainstream cinema at the time.

Nakahira's works shine a light on stifling conventions and restrictive attitudes towards sex in Japan’s postwar society, with a focus on characters who struggle to find purpose in a modern world they are still adapting to.

This Australia-first retrospective showcases a wide-ranging selection of films produced during Nakahira’s Nikkatsu period, when he shot successive films with impressive speed. From stylish erotic thrillers to slapstick comedies, psychological melodramas and hardboiled action films, the program demonstrates Nakahira’s versatility across genres, a trait that would set him apart as one of the early transnational directors of the postwar era.

This free Special Series program is part of the Japanese Film Festival 2023 presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney and made possible by the Japan Foundation Film Library.


All screenings are Japanese with English subtitles

©1957 Nikkatsu 



Temptation (誘惑) - 30 September, 11am

Juvenile Jungle (狂った果実) - 30 September, 2pm

Danger’s Where the Money Is (危いことなら銭になる) - 1 October, 11am

Flora on the Sand (砂の上の植物群) - 1 October, 2pm


Logos for the Japanese Film Festival Australia and Japan Foundation



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