Writing on Obayashi Nobuhiko’s Anti-War Trilogy


Although I never intended to become an Obayashi Nobuhiko expert, I have nonetheless developed a significant connection with that utterly unique Japanese film director. It started when we invited him and his family to Yale, after which I programmed a retrospective of his work at the Japan Society. He later asked me to contribute to one of his books, and it was only a day or two after he treated my family to dinner in Tokyo that he found he had cancer. We did get to meet him and his wife Kyoko again before he passed away in 2020. I then moderated a commemorative panel discussion on him for Japan Cuts, and have begun putting together an anthology on him with Aiko Masubuchi, the former Japan Society film programmer.

So it was perhaps destiny—as well as quite a pleasure—to get a request from Adam Torel at Third Window Films to pen an article for their BluRay release of Obayashi’s anti-war trilogy, composed of Casting Blossoms to the Sky (2011), Seven Weeks (2014), and Hanagatami (2017). 

As I did when announcing the Blu-Ray for Sailor Suit and Machine Gun, here is the first paragraph of my essay:

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s anti-war trilogy, made up of Casting Blossoms to the Sky (2012), Seven Weeks (2012), and Hanagatami (2017), is a return for the director, but a multi-layered, complex one. It is a return to the past, to childhood, to earlier ways of filmmaking, while also being a new adventure for a filmmaker who was 79 years old and battling cancer when Hanagatami was made.    

More information on the disc is available at the Third Window Films website, where you can also purchase it.

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