Oshima's second feature is a shocking tale of youthful delinquency in post-Hiroshima, Japan. Conveying the pent-up sexuality and disillusionment among Japan's post-war generation it tells the story of teenage lovers Makoto and Kiyoshi. She's a good-girl-gone-bad, dropping out of school and out of home; he's a violent hoodlum, gambler and hustler. Making a living by performing shakedowns and attempting blackmail on unsuspecting middle-aged men, the film affords a bleak, nihilistic take to the 'taiyo-zako' (Japanese cinema's 'delinquent youth' films.) Often billed as Japan's Rebel Without A Cause, but whereas James Dean's Jim Stark has the proverbial heart of gold, Kawazu's Kiyoshi is filled only with rage and disgust. All of life's harsh realities await Makoto and Kiyoshi - this is no morality lesson or cautionary tale, just a window into a terrible vision of humanity.
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