Cruel Story of Youth (1960)

Nagisa Ōshima directs Yusuke Kawazu, Miyuki Kuwano and Yoshiko Kuga in this Japanese teen thriller where a schoolgirl and a student fall in love over a scheme to rob middle aged drivers who try to rape the hitchhiking bait.

Seedy but poppy. This is a very vibrant film with a very dour view of humanity and first love. As the ensemble slowly expands, the troubled lovers seem beset by all corners of society, a jagged worldview forms. Oshima defines everyone older as a mass who don’t just want to crush the ill fated union, but suck it dry like vampires. It makes for a pessimistic and ugly prosecution of teen lust and all the generations. A bit tabloid hyperbolic at times but this straddles the line between exploitation and arthouse with a rare deftness. Shame it is so continually bleak really.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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