Youth of the Beast [VHS]

ISBN 13: 9780780021662

Youth of the Beast [VHS]

 
9780780021662: Youth of the Beast [VHS]
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Youth of the Beast marks a stunning stylistic turning point in the career of maverick director Seijun Suzuki (Branded To Kill, Tokyo Drifter). WIthout compromising the pulp fiction conviction of the gangster movie thrills -mysterious

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Review:

Seijun Suzuki's delirious take on pulp-gangster films blows the lid off the genre with mad energy and stylistic excess, twisting a cliché-riddled revenge plot lifted from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (which also inspired Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars) into a wild yakuza explosion. The somber black-and-white opening with a single color element--a pink flower lying on the floor--explodes into bright color, blaring music, and random violence. Chipmunk-cheeked Suzuki regular Jo Shishido hides behind dark glasses as the brutal thug Jo, who auditions for the Nomota mob boss by beating up underlings in his own nightclub (we watch the spectacle from behind soundproof glass while a go-go dancer shimmies in the foreground). Quickly establishing himself as the outfit's most ruthless debt collector and enforcer, he visits a rival gang (headquartered in a loft overlooking a movie house) and before long is playing the two against one another. The tangled plot also involves the Nomota honcho's gay brother, a scheme against his sixth wife, and the mysterious Takeshita School of Knitting, all set at a barreling pace and spiced with jagged narrative leaps, avant-garde riffs, and glowing colorscapes that would make Douglas Sirk jealous. In one bizarre scene, a raging wind whips an amber-hued desert into a surreal dust storm just outside the picture window of the Nomota boss's living room window as he blithely flogs his mistress. Suzuki's cinematic madness finds its culmination in Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter. --Sean Axmaker

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