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The Warped Ones

Japan 1960. Koreyoshi Kurahara
Tamio Kawaji, Eiji Go, Noriko Matsumoto, Yuko Chishiro, Hiroyuki Nagato
Koreyoshi Kurahara's bold, breathless The Warped Ones is an extreme example of the "sun tribe" cycle of wild-youth movies that scandalized Japan in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Tamio Kawaji plays Akira, a jazz-crazy punk who goes to jail after partnering with a hooker (Noriko Matsumoto) to rob her client. In prison, he meets like-minded Masaru (Eiji Go). The two delinquents later team up with the hooker to renew their criminal ways. Released not long after Godard's Breathless, The Warped Ones offers similarly amoral characters, frenetic pace, and dynamic hand-held cinematography, though Kurahara’s vision is, if anything, more extreme. Actor Kawaji’s famously uninhibited performance, a fascinating experiment in style (not to mention the limits of human behaviour), catapults the film into the highest ranks of "bad youth" cinema, and perfectly captures the essence of Beat. A stylistic and amoral high point of early '60s cinema, The Warped Ones received a dubbed U.S. release, from sexploitation master Radley Metzger, as The Weird Lovemakers. The original Japanese title translates literally as "Season of Crazy Heat." The film is warped, weird and crazy entertainment under any title.