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Fumihazushita Haru

The Boy Who Came Back
The Spring That Didn't Come

Japan 1958
produced by
Masayuki Takagi for Nikkatsu
directed by Seijun Suzuki
starring Sachiko Hidari, Akira Kobayashi, Ruriko Asaoka, Eiko Higashitani, Jo Shishido, Shizue Natsukawa, Toru Abe, Makiko Aoi, Akemi Ebata, Shoki Fukae, Ayako Fukuda, Ikuhiro Hashiguchi, Akira Hisamatsu, Kyoko Hori, Michiko Kamata, Hiroshi Kato, Kenji Kawai, Tamae Kiyokawa, Shosei Muto, Mino Nambu, Hideaki Nitani, Keisuke Noro, Hiromi Seki, Fudeko Tanaka, Reiko Tanikawa, Taiji Tonoyama, Noriko Watari, Terue Shigemori, Ikuo Nikaido, Reiko Sakuma, Kaku Takashina, Hiroshi Midorikawa, Tokuhei Miyahara, Akinori Hanamura (as Kazuo Mihara), Kaoru Higuchi, Chigusa Takayama, Mamoru Tsuyuki, Takeshi Ida, Takashi Nomura (as Takashi Sudo), Shiro Yanase
written by Tatsuto Okada, Nobuyoshi Terada, music by Hikaru Hayashi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Young Keiko (Sachiko Hidari)  volunteers at the BBS (Big Brothers and Sisters), a private organisation dedicated to pull young ex-convicts back into society. Her first case is Nobuo (Akira Kobayashi), a young man who has been to juvenile prison twice, once for trying to strangle his dad, and who is pretty much a hothead with fits of rage. And at first, he's less than happy about Keiko meddling in his affairs. That's not to say he doesn't want to go the straight and narrow, quite the opposite, but he has no idea how to do that yet is unwilling to listen to advice, even if it's obviously well-meant, and his temper gets the better of him ever so often on top of that. He even gets violent towards Keiko a couple of times, but always stops before doing any real damage. But the less appreciative Nobuo shows himself to be, the harder Keiko works to turn him around, and she soon finds out he's actually an artist at heart, and he's still in love with his schooltime sweetheart Kazue (Ruriko Asaoka), so Keiko tries to bring them together again - with quite some success even (though it takes a while) ... but then she realizes she has fallen in love with nobuo herself.

Nobuo, who has by now started doing caricatures of tourists in the streets for a living, hasn't fully shaken his past yet, or more accurately his past life hasn't shaken him as a bunch of hoodlums eventually kidnap Kazue with the intent of selling her into prostitution - first and foremost to teach Nobuo a lesson. This of course gets Nobuo enraged, possibly past breaking point even ...


An early effort by the later genre-subverting genius Seijun Suzuki, this is actually a rather tame, not to say clichéed crime melodrama that's little more than a job-for-hire for his then-employer Nikkatsu at least at first sight. Of course, if one takes a closer look, one will find some quirks typical for the director even here, plus one can't deny the movie looks properly elegant, thanks to inventive camerawork and careful compositions - but that said, Branded to Kill it is not. But that said, should vintage Asian formula cinema be your thing (as it is mine), this is definitely good entertainment, as it's well-directed, well-played, and while the script isn't exactly original, it's well-structured and paced, so it's really worth a look!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


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