A metaphysical mystery involving a university student's camera getting stolen, and the thief then committing suicide. Looking back upon the event, the situation comes to be questioned if it happened at all.
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
I got very little from this film, other than it furthered my impression of Oshima as a misanthrope with very little of substance to offer about the human condition he has so little feeling for, nor the people he apparently reviles. It is, indeed, a Cruel Story, as one iteration of the English title would have it, but it doesn't even have the cheap thrills offered by Oshima's best-known film in the US, usually referred to here as IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES, but does share a remarkably ugly cinematographic color scheme (this might be a function of the prints and transfers I've seen, but both films in my viewing have been heavily into a reddish wash), fitting well with the remarkably ugly spirit with which both were offered. Not too impressed with the performances, either.
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