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Seishun zankoku monogatari (1960)

| Drama | July 1961 (USA)
A harsh young man seduces a freeloading young woman and eventually takes advantage of her knack for hitch-hiking to rob middle-class men.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miyuki Kuwano ...
Makoto
...
Kiyoshi
...
Yuki, Makoto's elder
Fumio Watanabe ...
Akimoto, the doctor
Shinji Tanaka ...
Yoshimi Ito, student
Yosuke Hayashi
Shinjiro Matsuzaki ...
Terada
Toshiko Kobayashi ...
Teruko
Hiroshi Nihon'yanagi ...
Keizo Horio
Kyû Sazanka
Shin Morikawa
Shinko Ujiie ...
Masae Sakaguchi
Jun Hamamura ...
Masahiro, Makoto's
Tamotsu Tamura
Yuki Tominaga ...
Toshiko Nishioka
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

July 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Story of the Cruelties of Youth  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The adult subject matter was too much for the BBFC who rejected the film for a UK cinema certificate in 1960. It was finally passed uncut with a 15 certificate in 2008. See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Voyage to Italy (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Credit to the director
25 May 2008 | by (Tokyo) – See all my reviews

"Cruel story of youth" seems to me a hard movie to give any judgment about. Trying to watch at the events of the drama from the point of view of the time (historically), I see not more than a Japanese version of "lost generation" drama. The ideals of parents passed away in the recent war, the new aims were not created – is it not a universal generation crises of searching your own way in life? While watching the movie, I asked myself if it is necessary to search for any hidden message of the director… if there is one…

The characters and events are described in a very direct, comparable to the animation speed and simplicity way (that was one of the points which I could dare to compare with the "trash-movie" stylistic). There is a lot of "beating directly into the face" full of disguise scenes (for the year 1960 the movie is full of violence and sex – what I guess was pretty "fresh" and not known at that time). The message of the director was delivered in the right way, no doubt that the movie drew public attention – that is the other point which I appreciate in director's work.

Now to the heroes (or anti-heroes, as I think a lot of people would tell): the main heroes of the drama present the whole collection of sins and all kinds of misbehavior. The antipathy to them is growing with every their word and step. The two try to fight the way through to the future and… fail. There is no one around (false existence or practical non-existence of a good example neither in society nor in their own family) to give them the right answer on: what to do to be happy? As Kiyoshi says: "We only sell ourselves in order to go on living. No matter how I fight it, that's what the world is like." Isn't life disappointing?

Love and death are linked in quite an extravagant way in this movie, resulting in a kind of "romantic antiromantic". What is left at the end? A symptom of a lost generation's aimlessness and moral bankruptcy (and lost innocence)… No doubt, "Cruel story of youth" is a very expressive movie the main topic of which could get up-to-date anytime (as it is well known that times pass – men and problem stay the same).


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