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Fighting Elegy (1966)

Kenka erejî (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Comedy, Drama | 9 November 1966 (Japan)
During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.

Director:

Seijun Suzuki

Writers:

Kaneto Shindô, Takashi Suzuki (novel)
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Three schoolgirls are infatuated with a yakuza, Katsuta, of the Izu Clan. They meet another yakuza, `Diamond` Fuyu, of the rival Yoshida clan. As he gets a tattoo, two of the girls become ... See full summary »

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Akira Kobayashi, Chieko Matsubara, Daisaburô Hirata
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Cast

Credited cast:
Hideki Takahashi Hideki Takahashi ... Kiroku Nanbu
Junko Asano Junko Asano ... Michiko
Yûsuke Kawazu ... Suppon 'Turtle'
Chikako Miyagi Chikako Miyagi ... Yoshino Nanbu
Takeshi Katô
Isao Tamagawa Isao Tamagawa ... Principal
Jun Hamamura Jun Hamamura
Asao Sano Asao Sano
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kensuke Akashi Kensuke Akashi
Iwae Arai Iwae Arai
Hiroyuki Atami Hiroyuki Atami ... (as Kôtô Atami)
Hiroshi Chiyoda Hiroshi Chiyoda
Hiroshi Chô Hiroshi Chô
Hideo Fukuhara Hideo Fukuhara
Yûzô Harumi Yûzô Harumi
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:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

9 November 1966 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Fighting Elegy See more »

Filming Locations:

Okayama, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nikkatsu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Yakuza Apocalypse (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

WACKY Satire of Repressed, Fascistic Youths
20 March 2000 | by scottbaiowulfSee 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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