Reintroducing Nagisa Oshima’s Death by Hanging

It’s been nearly fifty years since the original release of Nagisa Oshima’s Death by Hanging, yet the 1968 feature remains as viscerally powerful as ever. Oshima, one of the Japanese New Wave’s most prominent directors, made the film as a satirical examination of capital punishment, taking its subject from a real-life story of an ethnically Korean Japanese man who had been executed a few years earlier. This powerful work, out this week on Blu-ray and DVD, walks the the line between haunting case study and farcical portrayal of a flawed justice system. In honor of its new release, check out the film’s documentary-esque original trailer, featuring an impassioned cry by Oshima himself for the film’s social and political importance.

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