Naked Youth


Also known as Cruel Story Of Youth, Nagisa Oshima’s second film catapulted him to fame as a leader of Japanese cinema’s ‘New Wave’. It’s less stylistically radical than his later work (eg In The Realm Of The Senses), but already his admiration for Godard can be seen in the long takes and abrupt jump-cuts. The story slots it into the cycle of Japan’s ‘seishun eiga’ – youth movies – of the period. Makoto’s a teenage girl who falls for Kiyoshi, a handsome young guy subsisting on petty crime. Using her as bait, the couple shake down middle-aged men. But they’re in choppy waters and there are dangerous sharks circling. Oshima’s is a bleak, nihilistic vision – even the love between the young couple is brutal – and we can guess that happy endings aren’t in prospect. The new transfer looks good, though framing is clumsy. Extras are to an intro from Italian movie critic Adriano Aprà.


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