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The Born Fighter (1966)
"Kenka erejî" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 776 users  
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In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Hideki Takahashi ...
Kiroku Nanbu
Yûsuke Kawazu ...
Suppon "Turtle"
Junko Asano ...
Takeshi Katô
Isao Tamagawa ...
Principal
Kayo Matsuo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kensuke Akashi
Iwae Arai
Kôtô Atami
Hiroshi Chiyoda
Hiroshi Chô
Hideo Fukuhara
Jun Hamamura
Yûzô Harumi
Michio Hino
Edit

Storyline

In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of his emerging sexuality, focusing his energy on a gang he joins, breaking school rules, and getting into scuffles (he tells her, "Oh, Michiko, I don't masturbate, I fight"). He comes under the influence of a young tough nicknamed Terrapin, and together they lead fights against rival gangs. Gradually, Kiroku and Terrapin align themselves with the right-wing Kita Ikki, and Kiroku becomes a stand-in for the attitudes of Japanese youth who embraced the imperialism leading to World War II. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 November 1966 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Fighting Elegy  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

WACKY Satire of Repressed, Fascistic Youths
20 March 2000 | by (Shinjuku) – See all my reviews

Even though it suffers from acute VBS (Vinnie Barbarino Syndrome, i.e. all the "schoolchildren" are Thirtyish), this tale of burgeoning adolescent sexuality and burgeoning adolescent aggression is both funny and powerful. Directed by Suzuki Seijun [Tokyo Drifter, Branded to Kill] and scripted by Shindo Kaneto [who was in turn the director of Onibaba], Elegy to Violence has a lot more to say about conformity and militarism than allegedly profound films like Teshigihara's Face of Another.

As the young lad torn between swooning adoration for his Catholic girlfriend and the sense of power and purity he finds in paramilitary gangs, Hideki Takahashi overplays marvelously. He is an encyclopedia of twitches and cringing at first, but that gradually gives way to ridiculous hypermachismo as he gets into more and more fights. (or, as the subtitles put it, "scuffles")

Seijun Suzuki shows that he is keenly aware of the absurdity that underlies all of that hyperbolically heroic bloodshed that makes his other films so sublime.

But those of you just looking for your fix of hip 60s cinema won't be disappointed--with cartoonish sound effects, brutal action, stoned continuity, split screens, sudden fits of slapstick worthy of The Knack or Help!, and immortal lines like "Your manhood will cry if you are afraid" and "Oh Michiko, I do not masturbate--I FIGHT!", how can you go wrong?

Watch for the scene in which Our Hero climbs a watch tower to witness a "scuffle" that he himself fomented--an explicit homage to Yojimbo.


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