Movies You Should See -- Crazed Fruit

In an effort to give this blog some much need structure, I'm going to try to make my Monday posts about films. Not just any films, mind you, but FILMS. You know, the ones that have informed our sociopolitical discourse'n'shit. The ones that have inspired countless knock-offs and contributed to the language of cinema.
Yeah, that's right, important films.
The first film on my list is Crazed Fruit directed by Ko Nakahira and based on Shintaro Ishihara's novel. The film was released in 1956 and was shot in only 17 days. It tells the story of two brothers who fall in love with the same girl. Sure, the story seems age-old, but the way in which it is told somehow manages to be fresh, even by today's standards.
Natuhisa and Haruji are priveleged Japanese adolescents whose ennui leads them to the beach. There they meet the mysterious Eri. There's some really beautiful cinematography in this early section of the film. Most of it is shot on the beach, and this is perhaps how this film and others like it became known as taiyozoku ("sun tribe") films. These films are marked by youth, post-war disillusionment, and rebellion. Think of it as a Japanese Rebel without a Cause (it was released a year after Rebel).
Truffaut saw and loved the film. In fact, you can pull many, many references between Crazed Fruit and Jules and Jim. Pulling even further down through the annals of cinema, you can find nods to Crazed Fruit in Kids, The Doom Generation, Badlands, and a fistful of others. However, the film is not perfect--it is interesting but not perfect.
Criterion released this film last year and I got it for Matt for his birthday. We haven't sat down to watch it yet, but the bonus materials (commentary, at least) are supposed to be top-notch with some Japanese film scholar taking you through how the film came to be and what its lasting influence is.
There's some more history around the film regarding the author and the star (brothers). You can read more from the wikipedia link above. I guess the elder became a statesman and eventually penned a biography of his (now deceased) brother. Interesting.
Goes well with:
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Jules and Jim by Francois Truffaut

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

Though I was vaguely aware of this movie, it's not one that would have ever crossed my mind as a rental .. if it's available, I'm definitely gonna get it from Netflix, cause it does indeed sound fascinating