Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cruel Story of Youth (Nagisa Oshima, 1960)

***½
Japan



In this cornerstone of Japanese New Wave cinema, Nagisa Oshima uses the youth-gone-wild formula to dissect contemporary Japan's social mores. The nihilism of a teenage couple and their bed-hopping acquaintances plays out in the context of the generation that weathered the occupation. Shot on location in bold Technicolor, it plays like a more grounded, politically switched-on Breathless.

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Martin Ritt, 1965)

*** UK



Martin Ritt's irreproachably civil adaptation of John LeCarré's de-glam exposé of Cold War espionage seems intended as an antidote to the Bond films. It's thought-provoking to a degree, even if Ritt's conception of gritty East Berlin never sheds the Shepperton Studios aura.

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