A young man kills his bride on the day of his marriage and goes insane. He wakes up in an asylum with no memory, left in the hands of two mysterious doctors who relate his condition with his biological identity.
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
Husband and wife Gorô and Chiyo, and their only offspring, an infant son named Tarô, go through the ups and downs of family life living in a cramped modern apartment building in suburban ... See full summary »
Toshio Matsumoto directed a whole bunch of short films but only made four feature-length films and what's really interesting is that each of the four films is completely different from the rest, be it thematically, stylistically, musically or visually. After seeing all four, it seems to me like four different directors made each one, as they're so completely apart in story and tone.
The War of the 16 Year Olds, his most obscure feature film, somewhat reminds me of the films of Nobuhiko Obayashi, because of the pastel-like colors the movie's world is painted with and also because it focuses on teenage characters. Matsumoto's movie is like a slick mix of a nostalgic coming-of-age film, war film, art-house movie, family drama, a Buddhist parable and a ghost story, set in the town of Toyokawa, which suffered during the war and whose inhabitants may or may not be spirits. As the protagonist keeps trying to uncover his mysterious past, he slowly loses a grip on who are his actual parents and relatives and how he came to be.
The movie is dedicated to the victims of the Toyokawa air raids and a lot of more subtle plot or dialogue elements may be lost on non-Japanese viewers. I judged the film solely on face-value, and this way it didn't particularly impress me. While I liked some aspects of it, and the camera-work is very good, most of it was fairly tiresome, with a boring, forgettable soundtrack.
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