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Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (1968)
"Hatsukoi: Jigoku-hen" (original title)

X  |   |  Drama  |  10 June 1969 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 547 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 8 critic

A teenage goldsmith with a dark past tragically falls in love with a young nude model.


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Credited cast:
Haruo Asanu ...
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Kôji Mitsui ...
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Ankokuji's wife
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Minoru Yuasa ...


A teenage goldsmith with a dark past tragically falls in love with a young nude model.

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Release Date:

10 June 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nanami: The Inferno of First Love  »

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Avantgarde New Wave weirdness
9 November 2014 | by (Croatia) – See all my reviews

Susumu Hani is one of the lesser known filmmakers connected with the movement of Japanese New Wave (nuberu bagu). This is a tragic movie about a teenage couple and their first love happening in a society that has fully embraced perversity and decadence.

Much like most other New Wave films, this one is filmed on a shoestring budget, but still offers a lot of ideas, experimental gimmicks, leit- motifs and strange events in general. There are a lot different short side stories, a lot. The girl in the mall selling records for the lonely, the influence of flashbacks on the main boy's characterization

  • some are presented naturally (such as the strange scene where he's in

a class that teaches people how to laugh), while some memories are revealed by force, such as the excellent scene where he's hypnotized.

Throughout the whole film, motifs, shots and lines are repeated. People talk all in the same moment or without opening their mouths at all. The personal side to Hani's film is the scene where a young classmate presents his short film, partially in color, about his first love. The music is a weird mix of children's songs, funky jazz, haunting chorus pieces and famous classical tunes. The camera is shaky and loose, with sudden outbursts of overexposure at times.

The movie deals with provocative subjects in an explicit manner; Hani criticises the erotic industry through a highly unsettling scene where two models perform bondage acts while horny photographers rapidly take pictures of them. There is also an element of children molestation, both in the hands of parents and strangers, which is surprisingly bold for a late sixties film. So I guess you could call it an exploitation flick. One weird scene in particular involves naked children walking around in a cemetery wearing tengu masks. God knows what that's about.

This movie is very weird, but also very forgettable. I've just finished seeing it and already I'm struggling to remember most of it. It's just your typical avantgarde experimental artsy '60s hippie flick - add a little social commentary, unconventional narratives and strange imagery, and that's it.

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