Fighting Elegy (3 stars)

(15) 86min (Yume Pictures DVD retail)

Seijun 'Tokyo Drifter' Suzuki has a deservedly cult reputation as a diverse genre filmmaker. Whether he is directing gangster films, youth movies, or erotica, he constantly works to counter any obviousness in the plotting with the pure bravura of his directing style. It's clearly the case in this 1963 about unrequited, sexual frustration and street fighting in 1930s Japan. Protagonist Kirikou (Hideki Takahashi) fights his way through school, finds himself expelled and fights his way through another one just as nonchalantly. Suzuki films the whole thing with assertiveness, utilising wayward long shots on conversations when close-ups would be the norm, and shooting the initial stages of one spat from a high-angled rooftop shot while the protagonists are arguing on the ground. He even has a bit of fun with split screen when the students torment one of their teachers. Minimal extras.

Fighting Elegy

  • 3 stars
  • 1966
  • Japan
  • 1h 26min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Seijun Suzuki
  • Cast: Hideki Takahashi, Junko Asano, Yûsuke Kawazu

Seijun Suzuki's genre mixture is about a young Catholic boy who falls in love but when he is unable to win over the girl, he turns to violence. Acting out in school, joining different groups and always looking for trouble, the boy finds himself in the middle of the February 26 Incident (Niniroku Jiken).