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Indiana University

Outreach

Video Lending Library

Japan

Program Title: Dr. Akagi
EASC Code: JD-05
Series Title:
Region/Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
Subject: Movie & TV Drama
Program Type: Feature
Media Type: VHS
Director: Shohei Imamura
Producer: Imamura Production, Toei, Tohoku Shinsha, Kadokawa Shoten
Release Date: 1998
Running Time: 128 min
Color or BW: Color
Program Abstract: "At once both an eccentric black comedy and a humanistic portrait of pre-Hiroshima Japan, Dr. Akagi is a triumphant work that solidifies Shohei Imamura's status as Japan's greatest living film-maker. Bubbling over with doses of savage wit, kinky sexuality, and apocalyptic uncertainty, the film writes a prescription for weirdness that is hard to forget. Set on small Japanese island in the final days of World War II, Dr. Akagi is the story of one man's obsession to retain his decency and stamp out a deadly disease. When a dreaded epidemic breaks out, Akagi takes to literally running from house call to house call. From the fringes of Japanese society, the un-orthodox physician soon gathers a motley crew of helpers: a dissolute monk, a nihilistic morphine-addicted surgeon, an ex-prostitute, and a wounded Dutch soldier. Using medical practices that aren't strictly from the manual, Akagi and his group make a loony and quixotic effort to locate the disease-causing microbes. It's an uphill battle; the real enemy, however, is not illness, but the spreading militaristic mania that overcame Japan in the last days of the war. Dr. Akagi is a completely original film that mixes sex, the atomic bomb, and germs with the dark comedy that is Imamura's trademark. But like his previously acclaimed films (The Eel, Vengeance is Mine), the director also makes an important statement -- Dr. Akagi poweruflly portrays Japan's moral weakness during WWII."
Data Entry Date: 3/28/2000