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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
Technically well made, but overall pointless and unlikable
I know that many consider this film to be a classic and my very low score will most likely trigger a lot of "not helpful" votes, but I just didn't like this film at all. I understand that the film is in many ways a Japanese film version of the important French film BREATHLESS, but like BREATHLESS, the leading characters are so unpleasant I had a hard time sticking with the film--though with THE CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH the characters a lot more unpleasant and slimy.
The girl is an idiot high schooler who slavishly follows after a college student who treats her like garbage. He rapes her twice at the beginning of the film and in return, she devotes herself to him!! The guy, in addition to being a rapist, is a violent user. The loves to fight and sleep around and does little to hide it from the girl. Considering that neither seem to ever go to class and don't have jobs, they earn money by setting up men to try to rape the girl--at which point the guy jumps out and beats up the men and takes their money. It sounds like a match made in heaven, right?! So why make the American title of the film "THE CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH"? What's cruel about the story--both characters choose to be evil and choose their fates. It isn't like they are somehow victims (though the film does try to paint it that way). Their lives are pointless and selfish. Rape, abortion, extortion, indifference--after a short time I found myself getting very tired of the whole thing and, oddly, when the film had it's supposed sad ending, I was thrilled! I say good riddance and bring me a film I can care about--not this nihilistic and nasty little film.
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