Friday, 2 May 2014

The Warped Ones [1960]

Japanese New Wave filmmaker Koreyoshi Kurahara’s freewheeling, nihilistic, frenetic and delectably amoral taiyo zoku or ‘Sun Tribe’ film The Warped Ones would form perfect companion pieces to both Oshima’s Cruel Story of Youth and Black Sun that Kurahara made 4 years later. Its protagonist Akira (Tamio Kawachi) is an asocial delinquent with no moral compunctions, guilt or remorse, and belongs to the fringes of the society; and, to add further spice to his character, he is alienated, rebellious, loner, lives by his own set of absurd and non-conformist rules, and is absolutely crazy about jazz music. He and his saucy girlfriend Fumiko (Noriko Matsumoto), who earns her living by prostituting for loaded Americans, are arrested when caught cheating foreigners in a jazz bar, and sent to a juvenile correction facility. Upon release they, along with his cell-mate Masaru (Eiji Go) resume their casual criminal activities – they steal a car, injures the reporter (Hiroyuki Nagato) who’d got them arrested and force the guy’s fiancée Yuki (Yuko Chishiro) into their car. Akira rapes Yuki at a secluded spot and goes back to his usual life; however, things become complicated when Yuki becomes pregnant with his child, more so when, to spite her boyfriend who’s deliberately ignoring the incident, starts stalking Akira who couldn’t care less. The film was unapologetically filled with provocative moments, apathetic response to crime and misogyny, which brilliantly captured the underbelly it covered, and was led to a cheekily mischievous climax. The narrative was fueled by the excellent and energetic jazz score, and marked by sparkling B/W photography and such Nouvelle Vague techniques as jump cuts and freeze frames.

Director: Koreyoshi Kurahara
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Urban Drama
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan


msmariah said...

Great review. The film seems to be appropriately titled, 'the warped ones.' This movie sounds complicated.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks. And no, it isn't a complicated film, even if the plot might make it seem so. Its a breezy watch, but yes, also a discomfiting one.

Sam Juliano said...

I own this set and agree with your fabulous analysis. The jazz score is top-rank and the stylistics elevate the work greatly.

Shubhajit said...

Great to know, Sam, that you possess this fabulous set. Yeah, the jazz score, as in Black Sun, was excellent.