Nanami: The Inferno of First Love
A groundbreaking filmmaker from the Japanese New Wave whose work has gone largely unseen in the U.S., Susumu Hani creates a hallucinatory portrait of big-city adolescence in Nanami: The Inferno of First Love. A love story seen through a glass darkly (and a box-office smash in Japan), the film follows a teenage couple—both played by non-actors—as they take fateful steps toward adulthood in the shadow of Tokyo’s teeming Shinjuku district. She finds work as nude model; he uncovers traumas from his childhood. A stark and often sexually explicit rendering of a generation’s aimless drift, Nanami is largely set in shabby hotel rooms, bleak basement studios, and phantasmagoric shantytowns. Strewn with flashbacks and lapses of delirium, the film is co-written by avant-garde poet/filmmaker/dramatist/photographer Shūji Terayama, who would go on to mine similar terrain in his cult classic film Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1971).