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The Born Fighter (1966)

Kenka erejî (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Comedy, Drama | 9 November 1966 (Japan)
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 ...
Michiko
Takeshi Katô
Isao Tamagawa ...
Principal
Kayo Matsuo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kensuke Akashi
Iwae Arai
Hiroyuki Atami ...
(as Kôtô Atami)
Hiroshi Chiyoda
Hiroshi Chô
Hideo Fukuhara
Jun Hamamura
Yûzô Harumi
Michio Hino
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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  »

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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

 
After a second viewing...
22 May 2005 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

The first time around, I was a little lost on this one. I didn't have the proper knowledge of its historical context. The Criterion liner notes are a big help. I just wish I had read them more recently. This is a satire of the militaristic attitude that eventually lead Japan into WWII. I remembered it being a comedy. It does have its comic moments, mostly involving Kiroku's uncontrollable erections, but it is rather serious in tone. Well, that's even a little weird. Suzuki is able to create a remarkable balance between the film's serious themes, its action sequences, as well as its comic touches. All the while, he creates a film of outstanding imagery, gorgeous cinematography, and artful editing. To think, Suzuki Seijun had probably no ability to choose which films he made. He was a bit lucky to land this one, though, as it was written by Kaneto Shindo, who had to be hot stuff after having already directed both The Island and Onibaba (though I wouldn't know how those films were received in Japan). This is one of only two Suzuki films that stand outside of the yakuza genre, so here (and in Story of a Prostitute) he was able to deal with deeper themes than normal. But anyway, Suzuki had little control over what material he was to direct, one way or another. I find his ability to create great art infinitely more impressive than any number of cinematic artists who had more or less complete control over their own work. It would be utterly wrong not to include Suzuki in the pantheon of the world's greatest film artists.


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