|8:40 p.m.||The Warped Ones|
Koreyoshi Kurahara (Japan, 1960)
“An unrestrained banshee wail of libidinal frenzy and lunatic vengeance.”—Chuck Stephens, Criterion
(Kyonetsu no kisetsu, a.k.a. Season of Heat, a.k.a. The Weird Love Makers). A nihilist screech dedicated to deafening everything that came before it, The Warped Ones is New Wave gone violent punk, and as breathless and berserk a film as any ever sponsored by a commercial studio. Tamio Kawaji (a member of Nikkatsu’s “Bad Boy Trio”) mugs like a homicidal, psychopathic Jerry Lewis as a juvenile delinquent with a taste for anarchy, destruction, and bebop; “I need some black music!” he wails, before setting off on a one-man war vaguely aimed at a journalist and his artist girlfriend, but encompassing the police, horny Westerners, and even Japanese beatniks. (“What extraordinary Fauvism! Your eyes reflect boredom with modern society!” cries a group of finger-snapping artistes this rude boy stumbles across, in a scene more Herschell Gordon Lewis than Jean-Luc Godard). The film’s startling freeze-frames, crazed camera whirls, and other visual intoxications are as nervy as any in the French and Japanese New Wave, but The Warped Ones seethes with a Nietzschean fury all its own, too antisocial to be part of any contemporary movement, and about twenty years too early for punk.
• Written by Nobuo Yamada. Photographed by Yoshio Mamiya. With Tamio Kawaji, Eiji Go, Noriko Matsumoto, Yuko Chishiro. (76 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, permission Janus Films/Criterion Collection)