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6/10
Japanese teen angst
rooak13 May 2015
A young Japanese man, living with his mother and two sisters, falls into an aimless existence, unable to find a future for himself alone but unable also to throw off entirely his sense of obligation to society and family. He is a deeply unhappy person who comes under the influence of a wealthier and much more malign, possibly sociopathic young delinquent.

After seeing Kinoshita's "Twenty Four Eyes", I appreciated the much tauter pace of "The Rose on His Arm." In fact, the editing was so tight and the story telling so minimal that there were times when it seemed a little under-told. The cinematography was good, the jazz score excellent. I find Japanese acting in these earlier films to be "melodramatic"—but recognise that there are cultural elements at play here.

Watching a film like this, you realise that there are some issues that are trans-cultural, but that they also play out in a very culturally defined way. Watching this movie alongside Rebel Without A Cause is quite eye-opening. The parents all but disappear in RWAC, but here the relationship between the young man and his mother is the cornerstone of the movie.
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6/10
Japanese juvenile delinquents
pscamp0115 December 2013
In America during the 1950's there was a lot of concern over "juvenile delinquency"--a perceived rise in crime committed by teenagers. The most famous manifestation of this concern was the near death of the comics industry, but there was also a number of Hollywood movies devoted to the subject--most notably Blackboard Jungle. But apparently the problem wasn't unique to America; Japan also had a number of movies on the subject. While The Rose On His Arm isn't the best of them (I'd say Crazed Fruit is the best of them that I've seen) it is still pretty interesting.

It starts out with a great opening credits sequence. A very cool and quirky jazz song is playing and in between the credits, there are flashes of modernistic art. It creates an exciting mood and it led me to believe that this was going to be a very stylistic movie. Unfortunately, once the movie itself starts it becomes a fairly standard teen melodrama. The protagonist is a neer do well teenaged punk, loafing around all day and night, committing petty crimes, getting into fights and harassing people. Meanwhile his widowed mother is working two jobs to support him and his two little sisters. Her efforts to straighten him out hit a roadblock when he meets someone who is even more depraved than he is. It's a fairly standard story, enhanced by good performances and social commentary on the social classes in Japan and the poverty endured by the families who had to return from Japan's colonies after the end of WWII. Overall, not a masterpiece but still worth checking out.
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