Seijun Suzuki

Youth of the Beast

Youth of the Beast

When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo's underworld explodes with violence. Youth of the Beast (Yaju no Seishun) was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark. The Criterion Collection proudly presents the film that revitalized the yakuza genre and helped define the inimitable style of a legendary cinematic renegade.

Film Info

  • Seijun Suzuki
  • Japan
  • 1963
  • 92 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #268

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Video interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and actor Joe Shishido, made by Nikkatsu in 2001
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Howard Hampton

New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Video interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and actor Joe Shishido, made by Nikkatsu in 2001
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Howard Hampton

New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang

Youth of the Beast
Cast
Joe Shishido
Joji Mizuno
Misako Watanabe
Kumiko
Tamio Kawaji
Hideo Nomoto
Ichiro Kijima
Koichi Takeshita
Mizuho Suzuki
Hirokawa
Shoji Kobayashi
Tatsuo Nomoto
Kinzo Shin
Shinsuke Onodera
Eiji Go
Shigeru Takechi
Credits
Director
Seijun Suzuki
Cinematography
Kazue Nagatsuka
Production design
Yoshinaga Yokoo
Screenplay
Ichiro Ikeda
Screenplay
Tadaaki Yamazaki
Based on a novel by
Haruhiko Oyabu
Music
Hajime Okumura
Producer
Keinosuke Kubo

From The Current

A Salute to Seijun Suzuki
A Salute to Seijun Suzuki

Cinema lost one of its most venerated maestros of excess last week with the passing of director Seijun Suzuki, whose signature films from the 1960s exploded the conventions of the Japanese studio system. While honing his craft in dozens of films cran…

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Seijun Suzuki in Berkeley

Repertory Picks

Seijun Suzuki in Berkeley

This Saturday, the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive in California will kick off a comprehensive Seijun Suzuki series (running through June 30), celebrating the visionary Japanese director’s revelatory body of work. On Sunday night, th…

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Youth of the Beast: Screaming Target

“Just shut up and watch!” So snarls a frenzied gangster-pimp to baby-faced tough Joe Shishido as the creep whips a prostrate prostitute. There’s plenty for the naked eye to absorb: the delicate calligraphic detail of the bloody lash marks, set…

By Howard Hampton


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Seijun Suzuki

Director

According to critic Manohla Dargis, “To experience a film by Japanese B-movie visionary Seijun Suzuki is to experience Japanese cinema in all its frenzied, voluptuous excess.” Suzuki played chaos like jazz in his movies, from the anything-goes yakuza thrillers Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill to the daring postwar dramas of human frailty Gate of Flesh and Story of a Prostitute to the twisted coming-of-age story Fighting Elegy; he never concerned himself with moderation, cramming boundless invention into his beautifully composed frames, both color and black-and-white. Suzuki first pursued film after returning home to Tokyo from service in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II and failing university entrance exams. Following an unsatisfying stint as an assistant director at Shochiku, Suzuki was lured in 1954 to the recently reopened Nikkatsu studio, which was hiring fresh talent to appeal to a new kind of youth audience. He flourished there for years, with such films as Take Aim at the Police Van and especially Youth of the Beast, a commercial breakthrough for him. Yet his bosses became more and more opposed to his increasingly surreal visual stylings and lack of attention to narrative coherence, and after he made Branded to Kill, which a superior deemed “incomprehensible,” they unceremoniously (and illegally) revoked his contract. Of course, as any true Suzuki fan (and they are legion) knows, the incomprehensibility is part of the fun, and today his sixties works are considered some of the most essential of the Japanese New Wave.