Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'A Clockwork Orange' meets 'Breathless' in Japan

If you ever see "KYONETSU NO KISETSU (THE WARPED ONES)" you are unlikely to ever forget it.
KOREYOSHI KURAHARA'S 1960 film stars TAMIO KAWAJI as an anarchic delinquent embarked on a seemingly nonstop, amoral rampage.
He reminds me of Alex in "A CLOCKWORK ORANGE." Kawaji's jazz-loving character rapes and pillages his way through the film -- while taking time out to mock modern art and classical music (one of the deviations from Clockwork's Alex).
Kawaji is a familiar face for fans of NIKKATSU studios productions of the 1960s, and he features in five films we own on DVD, including a pair of Seijun Suzuki yakuza freak-outs and even a monster movie.
"Kyonetsu no Kisetsu" is nothing like those. Although it was originally marketed in the United States as a dubbed "sexploitation" flick, it is the closest thing to Jean-Luc Godard's "A Bout De Souffle (Breathless)" you'll ever see.
It's full of jump cuts and jazzy music and camera angles that take in more of the tops of buildings than the character's faces.
It's an artistic marvel whose characters' disregard for other life makes you squeamish.
Once you see it, you'll never forget it.

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