Saturday, November 13, 2010

The caffeinated, drunken world of 'Yaju No Seishun'

"YAJU NO SEISHUN (YOUTH OF THE BEAST)" is like an action film on caffeinated alcoholic beverages: It's a lightning-quick succession of guns, thugs and women, and it sometimes spins so far out of control you feel like blacking out.
I watched the 1963 SEIJUN SUZUKI film last night on DVD -- it's one of my absolute favorites.

Japanese film historian Chris Desjardins calls "Yaju No Seishun" "one of Suzuki's absolutely wildest" cinematic works.

In OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM, Desjardins describes the film as:

"The tall tale of a maniacal tough guy (Jo Shishido) swaggering through squalid streets, surreal nightclubs and apartments, beating the hell out of anyone giving him lip. He infiltrates two gangs, playing one bunch off against the other, until midway through it's discovered he's an undercover cop, and thugs start tying him upside down to chandeliers and sticking sharp things under his fingernails."

It's a brilliantly garish film -- like a nightmare pressed in celluloid -- and watching it again made for a memorable film experience last night.

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