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Youth of the Beast

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Youth of the Beast

Yajû no seishun
  • Japan
  • 1963
  • 92 minutes
  • Action
  • Crime
  • Drama
  • Mystery

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Right on the heels of the riotous Go to Hell, Bastards: Detective Bureau 2 3, Seijun Suzuki unleashed what would come to be seen as his true breakthrough, the film that would cement "the Suzuki sensibility": Youth of the Beast [Yajû no seishun]. A kaleidoscopic fantasia that contains "youth" and "beast" onlly insofar as 1963 pop/youth culture was that violently upstart thing, not unlike the yakuza?


And so Youth of the Beast is a yakuza tale with a premise like Akira Kurosawa's Yôjinbô, but denuded of an easy definition of which side is which. It stars Suzuki's iconic '60s regular Jô Shishido, with his dare-you-to-call-them-out artificial cheek implants like new acting blasphemy. There are drug-addled whores, gunfights in a new colour apocalypse, and at least one alien landscape — the sudden mind-searing eruption of a sulphur yellow desert like an action-figure playset with overspill of unbridled lust.

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