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Katsumi is a university student who has no respect for his hardworking parents, his professors, or even his friends. He helps one friend obtain a loan to finance a dance, by humiliating his father at the bank where he works. He drugs and rapes Akiko, one of the girls in his class. She becomes infatuated with him, even though he remains aloof. He enjoys goading a rival gang in the pool hall. Finally, when facing the gang, he goes too far in trying to prove his courage. Written by
Hiroshi Kawaguchi plays Katsumi, who is a university student who rejects just about everyone. The movie is a character study of Katsumi, showing how he behaves toward his parents, one professor, a girl he rapes, his best friend, those whom he dislikes, and students from a rival university. In the 1950s, Japan had its rebel generation too, and this story focuses on an example of one particularly unsettled young man who finds no role in conventional society that he aspires to.
Without revealing the plot and the events that occur in the story, let me tell you a bit about Katsumi's character. The plot summary for this movie on IMDb is accurate and tells you broadly what to expect.
Katsumi has no respect for his father, a bank loan officer, whom he sees as dead inside and leading a dead life. His father is tyrannical toward his mother, who yields and can't find any happiness. Katsumi sees his philosophy professor as unwilling to explore issues in depth and not really interested in his students. Katsumi is not unintelligent. He sees human life and human beings through a materialistic lens. He rejects the dominance of spirit and consciousness, seeing those as determined by material action. Katsumi's conscience is not strong. He is trying to be very independent in his rejection of contemporary values. To make some money, he and a pal are running dances. Katsumi really doesn't want to become just another employee of some company. He has an entrepreneurial and risk-taking disposition, but having trouble finding outlets. He likes to fight rivals.
While not a sociopath or psychopath, he has a strong streak of domination. This shows up when he drugs and rapes a pretty co-ed named Akiko played by Ayako Wakao. She thinks he wants her and she has some idea of getting together with him, but he rejects her and such strings. He projects his contempt for his weak mother on women, and thinks nothing of raping her. Similarly, he rejects a friend who is looking to get a job with a company. Katsumi values boldness, forwardness, self-expression and rejects anyone who is kowtowing to society's roles and values. He sees those who conform and who fear punishment as weaklings and empty hypocrites. Katsumi is prickly but not entirely unlikeable. He's not obnoxious, but he is a loose cannon because his moral compass is not set strongly. He is also impetuous.
As compared with the American movies about teenagers made in the same decade, this treatment of Katsumi is more focused, more thorough and depicts a stronger character more strongly than most of the Hollywood products. His character is more extreme. The Hollywood movies tended to be about confused characters who liked to let off steam in drag races or dancing. Sometimes they got into crime. They had to come to grips with their parents. Katsumi is beyond all that.
This picture is of course done in a realistic and hard-hitting style that's completely different from any number of Japanese movies that use beautiful settings.
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