Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Kurutta Kajitsu
Japan, 1956. Nikkatsu Film Company, Nikkatsu. Screenplay by Shintaro Ishihara. Cinematography by Shigeyoshi Mine. Produced by Takiko Mizunoe. Music by Masaru Sato, Toru Takemitsu. Production Design by Takashi Matsuyama. Film Editing by Masanori Tsujii.
Two teenage brothers go on a beach vacation with their heads chock full of all the girls they plan to conquer when they arrive. The younger of the two spots a pretty lass at the train station who is on her way to the same resort, which means an instant coming of age when he begins a physical affair with her that takes him from boyhood to maturity in no time. His older brother takes a fancy to the young lady as well, determined not only to enjoy her company but also to teach his younger sibling a lesson about the world: the girl isn’t as inexperienced as she lets on, and that’s something the elder of the two boys thinks his brother should learn not to count on. It’s a light and sunny concoction that, unsurprising for Japanese romance, goes to dark places by its conclusion. Thanks to strong direction and terrific performances, the shift in tone is never awkward, rather a dream of desire that awakens to painful reality, the breezy intensity of young sexuality giving way to the pain of corrupted desire. Performances are superb and Ko Nakahira’s direction maintains control throughout.
The Criterion Collection: #295