Saturday Screenings: Death by Hanging Unclassified 18+

A young Japanese man standing in a room surrounded by three other men who are holding onto his hands. In the back of the room are a group of policemen.
26 August
Arc Cinema
Free, bookings essential
Dir: Nagisa Ōshima, Unclassified 18+, Japan, 1968, 118min, 16mm,

Viewer advice: This film contains themes of sexual assault. Viewer discretion is advised. This screening is restricted to adults 18 years and older and proof of age may be requested.  

In this subversive and surreal satire from Japanese New Wave provocateur Nagisa Ōshima, a young Korean man known only as R (Do-yun Yu) receives the death penalty in Japan. Despite being seemingly hanged, he miraculously survives his own execution.

The twice-born R has no memory of his identity, nor the violent crimes of which he was convicted, confounding his jailors. Through a series of increasingly elaborate and bizarre theatrical re-enactments, they must get R to accept his own guilt so that they can justify executing him again.

By turns deeply macabre and shockingly funny, Death by Hanging is a politically-charged fusion of New Wave filmmaking techniques and acerbic Brechtian theatre that takes aim at capital punishment and the treatment of Korean immigrants in post-war Japan.

The film features Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.

Death by Hanging is one of two films selected by Haegue Yang to accompany her solo exhibition, Changing From From To From.  

The Korean documentary Dear Pyongyang will screen at the James Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, on 24 June. 

Russell Storer (Head Curator, International Art) and Beatrice Thompson (Associate Curator, Asian and Pacific Art) will provide a brief introduction to the film and its connection to ideas in Haegue Yang’s work.  

Saturday Screenings is a free program of film screenings presented in partnership between the National Gallery of Australia and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. 

Death by Hanging is held in the National Film and Sound Archive Collection.  

Changing From From To From is on display at the National Gallery from 27 May to 24 September 2023.