Originally released in 1961, Shohei Imamura’s Pigs and Battleships is a beautiful film and one that wonderfully captures a unique period in Japanese history. Following the nation’s defeat in World War II Japan was subject to a significant American presence and as a country recovering from the very serious effects of the war this had a significant impact on the post war malaise. Moving away from war era beliefs, dealing with a distrust of the older generation and generally struggling to survive in difficult circumstances, the younger Japanese population were wrestling with something of an identity crisis.
Parallels between Japan as a country and the lives of the individual characters constantly run throughout Pigs and Battleships, imbuing the character’s lives and decisions with a greater significance and depth. The two main protagonists, low level yakuza Kinta (Hiroyuki Nagato) and his girlfriend Haruko (Jitsuko Yoshimura), are at an important tipping point and there is a sense throughout the film that the decisions they make will define their lives. Continue reading “Pigs and Battleships”