The Ceremony
The fall of the house of Sakurada after World War II, which Oshima depicts via showing how his protagonist Masuo remembers a series of ritual family gatherings, which become ever more absurd until they eventually fall apart. The film rarely leaves the dark, sparse rooms where the festivities take place; we see nothing of Japan outside of this family. But modernity is creeping in from all sides, bringing with it options and new perspectives that will undo the straightjacket of tradition. With its stage-like arrangements, Gishiki is akin to a cinematographic game that plays on a theme and its variations, thus narrating the great generational upheavals in Japan. Oshima focuses in particular on the psychological suffering of the younger generation, which he describes with the same mixture of empathy, exaggeration and analytical distance that is typical of his work.
by Nagisa Oshima
with Kenzo Kawarazaki, Atsuko Kaku, Atsuo Nakamura, Akiko Koyama, Kei Sato, Kiyoshi Tsuchiya, Nobuko Otawa, Maki Takayama, Sue Mitobe, Hosei Komatsu, Fumio Watanabe, Rokko Toura, Shizue Kawarazaki, Eitaro Ozawa
Japan 1971 Japanese 123’ Colour


  • Kenzo Kawarazaki (Masuo Sakurada)
  • Atsuko Kaku (Ritsuko Sakurada)
  • Atsuo Nakamura (Terumichi Tachibana)
  • Akiko Koyama (Setsuko Sakurada)
  • Kei Sato (Kazuomi Sakurada)
  • Kiyoshi Tsuchiya (Tadashi Sakurada)
  • Nobuko Otawa (Shizu Sakurada)
  • Maki Takayama (Kiku Sakurada)
  • Sue Mitobe (Chiyo Sakurada)
  • Hosei Komatsu (Isamu Sakurada)
  • Fumio Watanabe (Susumu Sakurada)
  • Rokko Toura (Mamoru Sakurada)
  • Shizue Kawarazaki (Tomiko Sakurada)
  • Eitaro Ozawa (Takeyo Tachibana)


Director Nagisa Oshima
Screenplay Tsutomu Tamura, Mamoru Sasaki, Nagisa Oshima
Cinematography Toichiro Narushima
Editing Keiichiro Uraoka
Music Toru Takemitsu
Sound Hideo Nishizaki

Produced by


Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG)

Nagisa Oshima

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1932. After studying Political Science, he played a crucial role in shaping post-war Japanese cinema as a representative of the Japanese New Wave (Nūberu bāgu). In 1961, he founded his own production company, Sozosha. His oeuvre comprises more than 20 films and more than 15 television productions. Oshima died in 2013.


1959 Ai to kibo no machi (A Town of Love and Hope / Stadt der Liebe und Hoffnung); 62 min. 1960 Seishun zankoku monogatari (Cruel Story of Youth / Nackte Jugend); 69 min. · Nihon no yoru to kiri (Night and Fog in Japan / Nacht und Nebel über Japan); 107 min. 1965 Etsuraku (Pleasures of the Flesh / Die Freuden des Fleisches); 104 min. 1968 Koshikei (Death by Hanging / Tod durch Erhängen); 107 min. · Kaette kita yopparai (Three Resurrected Drunkards / Rückkehr der drei Trunkenbolde); 80 min. 1969 Shonen (Boy / Der Junge); 105 min. 1970 Tokyo senso sengo hiwa: eiga de isho o nokoshita otoko no monogatari (The Battle of Tokyo, or the Story of the Young Man Who Left His Will on Film / Geheime Geschichten aus der Zeit nach dem Tokio-Krieg); 94 min. 1976 Ai no corrida (In the Realm of the Senses / Im Reich der Sinne); 102 min, Competition 1976, Retrospective 1990 1978 Ai no borei (Empire of Passion / Im Reich der Leidenschaft); 105 min. 1983 Senjo no meri kurisumasu (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence / Furyo – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence); 123 min. 1986 Makkusu mon amuru (Max mon amour); 97 min., Homage 2019

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020