Seishun zankoku monogatari

Cruel Story of Youth | Nackte Jugend
In 1960 Tokyo, drifter Kiyoshi saves hitchhiker Makoto from being raped. The grateful victim falls in love with him, only to allow him to brutally abuse her. He forces her to keep picking up men, whom he then robs or blackmails. After an abortion that triggers their arrest and separation, the amour fou escalates to a tragic end … With its avant-garde stylistic devices – handheld camera, documentary footage, garish colour palette, split screen – Cruel Story of Youth is considered the Asian counterpart to Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. But in fact, it is a far more dynamic and violent film. Made against the background of the failed student protests against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, in a sweeping sense, it tackles the issue of the younger generation’s failures. In 1960, Ōshima commented that he wanted to show the tragedy of young people who could have had a lovely youth, but were so driven into a corner that all that remained was a piteous, abject failure, and thus express his own outrage at what contemporary youth had to grapple with.
by Nagisa Ōshima
with Yūsuke Kawazu, Miyuki Kuwano, Yoshiko Kuga, Jun Hamamura, Fumio Watanabe, Shinji Tanaka, Aki Morishima, Kei Satō, Kan Nihonyanagi, Shinko Ujiie
Japan 1960 Japanese 96’ Colour DCP: Shochiku, Tokyo Rating R18

For the 2023 Retrospective, internationally renowned directors, actors, and screenwriters were asked to select their personal coming-of-age favourites.
Luca Guadagnino on his selection


  • Yūsuke Kawazu
  • Miyuki Kuwano
  • Yoshiko Kuga
  • Jun Hamamura
  • Fumio Watanabe
  • Shinji Tanaka
  • Aki Morishima
  • Kei Satō
  • Kan Nihonyanagi
  • Shinko Ujiie


Director Nagisa Ōshima
Screenplay Nagisa Ōshima
Cinematography Takashi Kawamata
Editing Keiichi Uraoka
Music Riichirō Manabe
Sound Shujuro Kurita
Art Director Koji Uno
Costumes Hanae Mori
Producer Tomio Ikeda
Executive Producer Hitoshi Numao

Produced by

Shōchiku Eiga Company

Additional information

DCP: Shochiku, Tokyo