Gohatto is Nagisa Oshima’s final feature film, a stunning piece of work that was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and screens from a rare 35mm print. The young and handsome Kano Sozaburo is admitted to the Shinsengumi, an elite samurai group that seeks to defend the Tokugawa shogunate against reformist forces. Kano is a skilled swordsman, but his physical beauty leads the members of the strictly male group to compete for his affections, generating tensions that threaten to become lethal. In Gohatto, Oshima explores the ambiguous forms of masculinity that the samurai code concealed, with a terrific cast including Ryuhei Matsuda, Takeshi Kitano and Tadanobu Asano subtly capturing the dangers of repressed homoerotic desire.
Introduction by Christopher Brown, University of Sussex.