"Desires for the Spirit of Youth"
Words from the director - Ishiro Honda (From the press sheet of "Adolescemnce II"):
"Adolescece", the question of what sort of psychological influence an
environment can make was explored. In this film, I wanted to
depict the internal thoughts of a young pubescent girl through one
particular incident: how much of an impact that one word from a
heartless adult can have on an immature soul, and how the youth is
troubled by such words.
I would also like to sharply point out
the egotism of an adult who resolves unforeseen circumstances only
with their self-righteous mindset, concerned about their own public
image. I'd also like to strongly state that the real sense of
resolution was made solely by the good common sense of this child.
Because adolescence / pubescense for sure is the biggest happiness in life…"
This youth film was planned a sequel to “Adolescence” (Shishunki - 1952), which was directed by Seiji Maruyama, who along with Honda was a disciple of Kajiro Yamamoto.
film takes place in a small town among the mountains. Reiko, a
prefectural assembly member's daughter...Keita, son of a Shinto
priest...Tamae, who lives with her mother who runs a small bar in
town...these three good high school friends create a reading group to
study philosophy, but the school forces them to dissolve the
group. Furthermore, the fact that Keita and Reiko went up to the
mountains alone was misinterpreted and rumors were spread around
town. In order to resolve this scandal, both parents and the
school principal decide to make the two get engaged. However,
this causes Reiko and Keita to suffer even more…
This is an
emotional work which shows youth, rational and with utter sincerity,
facing off against the logic of adults who control the situation
according to their selfish expectation and speculation as well as the
irrational dynamics of society which tries to eliminate those who do
not fit the norm. There are no sensational scenes like those on the
film posters nor promotional photographs. Although this film is
in black and white, it is beautifully made where you can sense the
vibrant color palettes of the ears of rice and the greens of trees.
cast is comprised of Keiju Kobayashi, who plays the straightforward
teacher, young Akira Kubo, Iyoshi Ishii (a.k.a. Sandayu Dokumamushi),
and Toyoaki Suzuki, who is also in Godzilla. Appearances by a
group of Toho support actors such as young Toki Shiozawa, Senkichi
Omura and Junichiro Mukai make an enjoyable attraction for Honda
The acting performance of the newcomer Keiko Miya, a
high school drama club student who was selected in an open
audition, is also very impressive. The script was revised in
accordance to her performance, creating a very Honda-esque double
heroine composition. It is also worth mentioning that this
strengthened the chick-flick factor of this work.
|Snapshot from the set of Kyoko Aoyama (who plays Reiko) with the director
|Publicity still of Akira Kubo, who plays the main character Keita, and Kyoko Aoyama
|Capturing the natural beauty of Koufu, on location
Sakae Ozawa [Eitaro Ozawa]
|Honda directing Kyoko Aoyama. Behind is Keiko Miya, who plays the part of Tamae
|Kyoko Aoyama and Keiko Miya (left) who also co-star in Honda's "Wakai-ki" and Senkichi Taniguchi's "Shiosai"