Pigs and Battleships (Buta to gunkan)

A hard but humorous look at the robust, high-spirited lower-class side of Japan - a world untouched by the tea ceremony, Zen or traditional gentility. Choosing as his setting the U.S. naval base at Yokosuka, Imamura follows the relationship between Kinta, a boy who falls victim to his misplaced trust of others, and Haruko, a girl who gains a new self-reliance. But the film is also “a brilliant protest against the continuing American military occupation of Japan.... Kinta and his fellow would-be mobsters live off the black market graft nurtured by the base and, in symbolism that never suffers for its obviousness, raise hogs to be fed on the garbage of the American base, just as the Japanese have been force-fed the garbage of American culture since the war.... The Americans are of course the ‘pigs' of the title, for they truly behave like pigs toward the Japanese.... But the pigs are also these Japanese yakuza themselves, since not only do the Americans abuse them and treat them as something less than human beings, but they themselves have been tempted by the greed and the example set by the occupiers. If the Americans are amoral, their petty yakuza imitators who would live off the leavings of their profligate wealth are equally so.”

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