Director: Seijun Suzuki
Runtime: 92 min
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Fresh out of prison, Jo Mizuno is a former detective on a quest for vengeance. Pugnacious yet charismatic, he joins the ranks of the rival yakuza gangs responsible for his former partner’s death—intending to take them down from the inside.
Made during one of his most productive years at the Nikkatsu studios, Youth of the Beast is one of four films he made in 1963—an era widely considered to have precipitated a stylistic breakthrough for Seijun Suzuki. His prismatic use of space together with his thematic leanings towards nihilism, confusion, and humour, heralded a novel take on the yakuza genre, typically approached at the time—by studios such as Toei— in the vein of the ninkyo eiga, (chivalry films) that are centred on the conflict between duty and emotion.
For the full Retrospective: Seijun Suzuki programme, please click here.
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