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.