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Kiyoshi is a brooding young man who treats women solely as objects. Makoto is a young woman who is just reaching her sexual awakening. She and her friends accept car rides from middle aged men, although they state it is nothing more than fun with no intention of leading those men on. Kiyoshi and Makoto meet when he saves her from one of those middle aged men who tries to take advantage of her. Despite treating each other abusively, they start a relationship with each other which leads to what they call love, but feels more like an emotional dependence on each other to rebel against traditional society. Each with no money, they start to extort money from these middle aged men who she leads on. This act is only one demonstration of the only power they feel they have, namely sex, which they use against others as well as against each other in their doomed relationship. Written by
See Cruel Story of Youth. It is an amazing film. Oshima Nagisa is probably best known for his avant garde work- films like "In the Realm of the Senses" and "Diary of a Shinjuku Thief"- but his earlier work is more compelling, if less sensational. This film tells the story of Makoto and Kiyoshi, two youths who suffer from the social malaise typical of their generation. They express their frustration in violent and poetic ways, which makes up the substance of the film's narrative. But putting all that aside, it's beautifully filmed and by it's end, completely heartwrenching. The color contrast is almost unprecedented- bright reds and blues set against pitch blacks. At times it has the sensibility of a yakuza film- violence abounds and Oshima makes use of sharp pans typical of that genre, giving it a very cool, retro feel. At it's core it's a love story, but of a sort that modern audiences will probably never see in a contemporary film. It shows love as the cruelest thing imaginable, making it difficult to watch at times, but in the end, impossible to forget.
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