Greatest Film Scenes
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Cruel Story of Youth (1960)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Cruel Story of Youth (1960, Jp.) (aka Naked Youth, or Seishun Zankoku Monogatari)

In writer/director Nagisa Ôshima's 'New Wave' cautionary drama (his second film) about teen sexuality, crime and delinquency in post-war Japan, similar in impact and theme to Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and various Bonnie and Clyde tales:

  • the ominous, opening titles - blood-red-painted script with newsprint in the background
  • the pivotal opening sequence of naive, impulsive, restless, and flirtatious schoolgirl Makoto (Miyuki Kuwano) hitchhiking - and then saved from an older man's rape-assault in a secluded area by delinquent teen Kiyoshi (Yusuke Kawazu), wearing a school uniform, who beat up the assailant and threatened to take him to the police, but instead accepted a cash bribe
  • the next day, Kiyoshi and Makoto met at a protest rally of idealistic students (against the Japan/US Security Pact, aka the Anpo Treaty), but they became bored as aimless, uncommitted bystanders - they preferred to leave and rent a motor-speedboat
  • the scene at a desolate, grungy, seaside dock filled with lashed-together log pontoons when Kiyoshi was refused a kiss with Makoto and she slapped him; he struck her back, followed her onto the floating pontoons, and pushed her into the water (she claimed that she couldn't swim); he stood above her and kept kicking away her clinging fingers when she attempted to hold onto the log - and used blackmail to get her to agree to sex, in order to help her get out: ("Will you do as I say?...Too bad for you. Why don't you want to? So why did you come then? You're curious about men? For sex? I'll satisfy that curiosity"); when she became exhausted, he eventually pulled her out - and forcefully raped her; afterwards, he told her that he was angry, not really at her, but at "everyone" in his world
  • the revelation of Kiyoshi's background - he was pimping himself out to a wealthy middle-aged woman, and he rented his apartment to friends for their indiscreet sexual liaisons (i.e., The Apartment (1960))
  • the scenes of Makoto's growing infatuation with the reckless, cruel, predatory and misogynistic Kiyoshi, their volatile, dysfunctional and abusive relationship as careless, wild lovers and petty crooks - and their re-enactment of their initial meeting as a manipulative scam and profitable technique, using her as sexual bait while he followed behind on a borrowed motorcycle, and scammed the older men through extortion for money
  • the sequence of Makoto's illegal back-street abortion in a shoddy clinic performed by drunken Dr. Akimoto (Fumio Watanabe) - the former degenerated suitor of Makoto's embittered older sister Yuki (Yoshiko Kuga); in the scene after the operation, Kiyoshi watched over the groggy Makoto, while on the other side of the wall, Yuki and Akimoto discussed their own lost ideals, dreams and abandoned hopes - their talk was regarded as disturbing but prophetic by Kiyoshi:
    (Yuki: "What splendid irony. We tried to change the world, with my puppet play and your doctor's bag. We were both so determined. What good was it?"
    Akimoto: "We couldn't do anything about it. This is a cruel world and it destroyed our love. At least our love remained pure and chaste. We vented our anger with the student demonstrations. But it was all pointless. We got hurt and we split up. We had to accept defeat. Your sister and her man, on the other hand, struggle with the world by giving in to all their desires. But they won't be able to win. In the end, their failures, like this abortion, will drive them apart."
    Kiyoshi (shouted at them): "No, never!"
    Akimoto: "The poor girl looked desperate when she arrived."
    Kiyoshi: "You're wrong! Don't talk nonsense. We're not like you two."
    Yuki: "I wish that were the case."
    Akimoto: "But it's not."
    Yuki: "Don't destroy my last hope. Or you'll destroy theirs too."
    Kiyoshi: "We have no dreams, that's why we'll never end up like you."
    Yuki: "Are you so sure you will stay together?"
    Kiyoshi: "Of course!")

    Kiyoshi heard the two decide to leave together and get drunk ("We were beaten again tonight. Let's have a drink. We needn't see each other again. Let's drink the night away") but then left separately
  • while Makoto was recuperating, he opened up a bag and took out two apples, one bright red, and one green; he put the red one on Makoto's chest, and violently crunched down into the green one; he stared off blankly into space as he continued to bite into it during a very lengthy sequence; when she finally awakened, he told her he was there for her: "I must be kind occasionally. I don't want you to cheat on me"
Deaths of Both Teens
  • the downbeat violent, bloody, and graphically gruesome ending resulting in the deaths of both teens: Kiyoshi was brutally murdered by pimping yakuza gangsters (by beating, strangulation, and a boot smothering his head) when he wouldn't relinquish Makoto to them, and while hitchhiking at the same time and sensing Kiyoshi in danger, Makoto jumped from a moving car to avoid another rape-kidnapping, but her foot caught in the door and she was dragged to death; the faces of the two doomed, dead lovers were pictured left and right in split-screen as the film ended

(Miyuki Kuwano)

(Yusuke Kawazu)

At a Dock, Makoto's Rape By Kiyoshi

Makoto's Backstreet Abortion


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