Nagisa Oshima’s second feature is a shocking tale of youthful delinquency in post-Hiroshima Japan. Conveying the pent-up sexuality and disillusionment among Japan’s post-war generation it tells the story of teenage lovers Makoto and Kiyoshi.
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Nagisa Oshima's second feature was a strong study of the current youth culture coming of age in Japan and was ahead of its time in its depiction of the loosening morality; the unhinging of tradition and the nihilistic attitude of said youth. This is a youth that felt their future was unsure or unattainable and therefore not so far removed from youth culture today. For a film now over 50 years old it's not dated.
Starts off not very well as a story on an relationship that seems emptily abrasive in tone. As it progresses however and the characters develop more depth it becomes a striking character drama that shows the confrontational style Oshima was known to have, the disenchantment of the characters matching the environment around them. Its flaws are pulled to see the virtues capsulated in the bleak ending.
Catherine Russell offers a fan-tas-tic reading of this movie in her work Narrative Mortality: death, closure and New Wave cinemas. Be sure to check out the chapter on Oshima (The limits of nationhood) starting on page 105, I loved it to bits! http://books.google.com/books?id=H-yjC6SOFwMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=narrative+mortality&hl=nl&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false
Ôshima deserves credit for dealing with this kind of subject before it was even accepted to do so, but the social commentary has lost some if its edge and seems almost uninteresting nowadays. Still, this is an important but rather dated film.
If Nicholas Ray made the most accurate portrait of the american youth on Rebels Without a Cause, Oshima made the most accurate portrait of the japonose youth in this film. It’s astounding how this portrait reveals all the disappoints after war, the crisis of democracy and the dreams unfulfilled by the revolution, letting young people with a present without a future, with a sense of cruelty and nillism instead of love
35mm really payed off. There is nothing like diving in the strong colors of this eclectic complex film- at times it becomes unbearable, with all his ruptures, the complex character emotions and shocking moments. I surprised myself wishing it lacked tone, so it woulnd't be so hard to watch.