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Crazed Fruit
     

Crazed Fruit

Director: Ko Nakahira, Harold Conway, Masumi Okada, Mie Kitahara

Cast: Ko Nakahira, Harold Conway, Masumi Okada, Mie Kitahara

 
In this powerful drama with comic undertones from Japan, a lazy summer by the beach develops a sinister undercurrent when two brothers' (Masahiko Tsugawa and Yujiro Ishihara) hedonistic pursuits of alcohol and gambling are interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful young woman, Eri (Mie Kitahara). The younger brother quickly becomes infatuated with the girl, but the

Overview

In this powerful drama with comic undertones from Japan, a lazy summer by the beach develops a sinister undercurrent when two brothers' (Masahiko Tsugawa and Yujiro Ishihara) hedonistic pursuits of alcohol and gambling are interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful young woman, Eri (Mie Kitahara). The younger brother quickly becomes infatuated with the girl, but the older brother also develops an attraction to her, and becomes determined to take her away -- even after learning she's already married. Controversial upon initial release for its portrayal of delinquent Japanese youth, Kurutta Kajitsu (also known as Crazed Fruit and Juvenile Jungle) has since been acknowledged as a trailblazing work in the Japanese "taiyozoku" (sun tribe) subgenre; it was the first feature for celebrated filmmaker Ko Nakahira.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Ko Nakahira's hothouse drama about wayward Japanese youth combines existential angst (similar to '50s teen art like Rebel Without a Cause and Catcher in the Rye), high-contrast/sharp-angled black-and-white cinematography by Shigeyoshi Mine, a screeching jazz score, and minimalist sound design to produce a distinctly modern masterwork. Story-wise, it helped establish a post-World War II cultural template of first-world pampered, aimless, casually self-destructive youth -- where the young women dangle their sexuality like a plaything and the boys store up puberty-driven reserves of testosterone until they explode with frustrated violence. To Japan, it depicted youths rejecting their elders' values for Western or American-style consumerism. In its filmmaking and themes, Crazed Fruit also foreshadows the festering political agitation of the '60s and international New Wave cinema. Though the onscreen action may seem constrained by today's standards, the subtext is dripping with sexual intensity. Rail-thin Masahiko Tsugawa convincingly embodies the awkward innocence and baffled hormonal urges of 16-year-old Haruji, manipulated by his older brother, Natsuhisa (Yujiro Ishihara), over the love of the deceptively "innocent" Eri (Mie Kitahara). Partially based on this film, Yujiro became a major heartthrob and tough rebel icon of the "Sun Tribe" subculture. The fever pitch of the action may seem overdone, but it's at least consistent with the self-centered histrionics of the teen characters and Nakahira engrossingly builds from languid summer rhythms to a grotesque finale. The story is adapted from a novel by Shintaro Ishihara (Yujiro's older brother), who also was a Sun Tribe figurehead and later a prominent nationalist politician and governor of Tokyo.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/28/2005
UPC:
0037429184127
Original Release:
1956
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
12,953

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary by renowned Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie; Theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; 16-page booklet featuring new essays by critic Chuck Stephens and film scholar Michael Raine

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Searching [1:55]
2. To the Coast [2:28]
3. Water-Skiing [1:49]
4. A Credo of Boredom [5:23]
5. The Girl From the Station [5:37]
6. Night Out [2:44]
7. Home [1:03]
8. Haru Makes a Date [1:57]
9. Looking for Natsuhisa [2:51]
10. Crush [3:55]
11. Love Blooms [7:20]
12. Unexpected Encounter [5:06]
13. Married [4:29]
14. Another Falls [2:41]
15. A Day With Haru [3:07]
16. Love's Frustrations [4:26]
17. First Time [4:12]
18. Level Playing Field [4:33]
19. Intercepted Letter [2:27]
20. The Hunt Begins [9:04]
21. Revenge [8:39]
22. Color Bars [:00]
1. A New Genre [1:55]
2. Naturalistic Technique [2:28]
3. Taiyozoku Culture [1:49]
4. Fashion As Index [5:23]
5. Impressionism/Mie Kitahara [5:37]
6. Sex and Violence [2:44]
7. The Fifties in Japan [1:03]
8. Purity Versus Pollution [1:57]
9. The Sun/Break Through Attitude [2:51]
10. Toru Takemitsu/Muted Sensuality [3:55]
11. Nakahira's Career/Personal Reflection [7:20]
12. Sex in Postwar Films [5:06]
13. Conventions [4:29]
14. Autobiographical Elements [2:41]
15. Loose Morals [3:07]
16. Music/"Japanese New Wave" [4:26]
17. Parallelism [4:12]
18. Violence [4:33]
19. Demographic Shift [2:27]
20. Hayama/The Female Character [9:04]
21. Shifting Style [8:39]
22. Color Bars [:00]

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