Monday 15 July 2013

Crazed Fruit [1956]

The Japanese New Wave film Crazed Fruit, belonging to the sub-genre of taiyozoku (Sun Tribe) films, dealt with the theme of angst and existential crisis among the youth – particularly among the rich and bored. It thus had a universal theme but was particularly relevant and topical in the context of post-War Japanese society. Its seemingly simple tale of brothers turning rivals on account of the same girl they fall for, received  dimensions on account of the simmering sexual tension and undercurrents, and its trenchant portrayal of decadence, aimlessness and vacuous existence of the wealthy in a society in flux and yet to reconcile with its immediate past. While on summer vacation, the young and naïve adolescent Haruji (Masahiko Tsugawa) falls in love with the enigmatic and seemingly prudish Eri (Mie Kitahara). Meanwhile his hedonistic elder brother Natsuhisa (Yujiro Ishihara), an archetypal spoilt brat for whom life is an endless party of excesses, becomes increasingly obsessed with Ira. However, as turns out, not only is she a promiscuous and philandering young lady, but is even married to a much older American man. And thus, while the virginal Haruji quenches the lonely Ira’s craving for love, oblivious of the fact that she’s anything but a maiden, the dashing and cocksure Natsuhisa starts satisfying her lust. Expectedly, the story heads towards a confrontational and mutually destructive finale, but nothing could have prepared one for the violent retribution – made all the more jarring by the languid pacing till then. Though uneven in nature, particularly on the acting front, this managed to be a memorable portrayal of a generation lost in space, with smooth B/W photography and lilting score as added bonuses.

Director: Ko Nakahira
Genre: Drama/Teenage Drama/Existential Drama/Psychological Drama
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan


Sam Juliano said...

Great score and cinematography for sure! You handle the film's themes here deftly as always Shubhajit!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. A fine film indeed on the lives of the rich & the bored in the context of post-War Japan.