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Fighting Elegy [1966] [DVD]

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Rent Fighting Elegy on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post
£4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: Hideki Takahashi, Yusuke Kawazu, Takeshi Kato, Isao Tamagawa, Kayo Matsuo
  • Directors: Seijun Suzuki
  • Producers: Kazu Otsuka
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Yume Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Jan. 2007
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000J4PGQK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,690 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Seijun Suzuki's insightful look at Japan's undercurrent of militaristic violence. Suzuki takes a bleakly humorous look at the Japanese youth's tendency towards sadistic violence, positing, it seems, that it's no more than repressed sexuality. The protagonist, Kiroku (Hideki Takahashi), evolves from schoolyard bullyboy into a radical at the vortex of the socio-political revolution of the 1950s.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Bacon VINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2007
Format: DVD
As the third part of the ongoing Seijun Suzuki collection on DVD, Fighting Elegy is the crown jewel in this diverse auteurs? back catalogue. Set in the late Thirties, the story follows high school drop out Kiroku Nanbu struggling to come to terms with his own adolescence conflicting with society & his pubescent self. Elegy is a work of art, each shot is beautifully crafted; exposing the underbelly of the boy and relishing each awkward moment with a dark edged delight. Though essentially the themes of society, religion and Nanbu?s journey from innocence toward macho fascist are not typical fair for humour; the screenplay by Onibaba director Kaneto Shindo allows Suzuki to handle the reality with satirical aplomb. Fighting Elegy is perfect classic narrative cinema, with enough artistic flair to remain timeless. It is filled with moments that should be watched, cherished, rewound and watched again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
"Boys be Ambitious!" 5 Jun. 2005
By Zack Davisson - Published on
Format: DVD
One of the classics themes of Japanese literature is the way of Koha, the "Hard School." A path of absolute masculinity, Koha requires absolute repression of sexual desires and avoidance of "weak" women, who are distractions from what make a man a man. Men are forged through intense, focused martial arts training and constant fighting to harden the warrior's soul. The way of Koha can be found is such seminal Japanese works as Mishima's "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea." Seijun Suzuki thinks this is pretty funny.

"Fighting Elegy" ("Kenka Erejii") is a sharp parody of Koha, taking a cynical look at the culture of boys in Japan, where the slogan "Boys be Ambitious!" can be heard shouted by mothers to their male children. All of the standards of a Koha flick are here; Kiroku Nanbu, the young upcoming tough with more spunk than ability. Turtle, an upper-student who becomes Kiroku's mentor in the ways of fighting. Michiko, a beautiful Catholic school girl who seeks to reveal Kiroku's soft side and lead him into love and marriage. Kiroku's inner battle between his lust for Michiko and his loyalty to Turtle is captured in the climatic line "I don't masturbate, I fight!"

Under Suzuki's directorial hand, this mockery of Koha is both hilarious and insightful. The military culture of WW II is one of the legacies of Koha, and "Fighting Elegy" takes place in a Japan on the brink of the Martial Law of 1935. Suzuki takes the fangs out of this ultimately destructive philosophy. One of his two non-Yakuza films (the other being "Story of a Prostitute"), it is nice to see Suzuki tackle this politically-charged topic so capably.

The Criterion Collection DVD for "Fighting Elegy" is fairly bare-bones, with no extra features other than two helpful essays, one on the film itself and one on Ikki Kita, founder of the militarization movement. Being a satire, it is impossible to truly appreciated "Fighting Elegy" without the necessary historical and political background that it dastardly mirrors and these essays go a long way towards filling in these missing pieces.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lots of fighting, little plot 8 Aug. 2011
By Little Roy Blue - Published on
Format: DVD
There's nothing quite so frustrating as a satire that totally doesn't work. "Fighting Elegy" is supposed to be some kind of brilliant attack on, I dunno, machismo or militarism or whatever, at least according to film critics and scholars. Funny, isn't it, that I interpreted this thing as a really poorly made and juvenile film about a bratty kid who gets into a lot of fistfights (rather like a Z-grade version of "Fight Club," which is also overrated).

Where do I start complaining about this film? The character development of our poorly acted protagonist is very minimal. We know that he's in love with a girl named Michiko, though we don't really know why, because he has zero chemistry with her. Because he can't have Michiko, our hero works out his frustrations by getting into a series of totally unconvincing - yet still rather violent and borderline sadistic - fights. The fights come with comedy sound effects, reminiscent of the Adam West Batman (THWACK! POW! ARRGH!) Every once in a while, the director tosses some Catholic imagery into the mix, like a crucifix with a big spotlight on it. What does all this mean? I'm afraid my poor brain was not up to the task of unpacking imagery of such, um, depth. I just thought it was pretentious.

Despite the fact that the film is quite short, it's repetitive and draggy, as the hero constantly gets into fights and then gets into trouble for having the fights. My interest was somewhat sustained by some good imagery - like the two "lovers" holding hands through a rip in a shoji screen - but a few good images do not a good film make. And, as is common with director Suzuki's pictures, the editing is so scatterbrained that I often had trouble following the action. (Shortly after making this film, Suzuki was sacked by his studio for making incomprehensible films. Some critics think this was a tragedy, but I'd have been tempted to fire the guy too.)

I suppose I'm being too hard on this movie, because it at least tries to be distinctive. But "Fighting Elegy" happens to belong to a sub-genre of cinema that I particularly dislike; it pretends to lampoon and condemn violence (I guess), but also seems to celebrate violence at the same time, and in the end I thought its message was garbled beyond comprehension. Honestly, I'm really not sure why Donald Richie, a usually razor-sharp critic of Japanese film, is so fond of Suzuki and his work; I much prefer the quiet dramatic force of an Ozu movie, or even the pop culture bliss of a Godzilla extravaganza, to a lurid and tacky film like this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Brute Comic Satire on the Rise of Japanese Fascism 13 Mar. 2001
By Christopher L Beckwith - Published on
After watching "Fighting Elegy," I'm convinced Suzuki, little known here in the states, is one of our living masters of film. Suzuki is incomparable, though if an analogy is appropriate, he might be considered the japanese counterpart to Scorsese. Fighting Elegy, a coming-of-age film set in the prewar years, is a deft, dazzling, fast-paced satire on the rise of fascism amongst the teen set. According to the code of militant asceticism and self-denial that has swept the the all-male schools of Japan, "Love is for sissies," leaving the film's hapless protagonist torn between his love for a local girl,... and the bully code of school yard warrior glory. Suzuki moves with a breathless, freewheeling ease between the farce of youth violence with its absurd quest for honor and the tender, humbling comedy of painful first love. Inundated with samurai fare, american audiences will find this early sixties b&w film an astonishing leap into 20th century japanese social history that they are rarely given an opportunity to see. Exceptionally rewarding!
Great Criterion Reproduction. 30 Mar. 2009
By Laird M. Wilcox - Published on
Format: DVD
Criterion did their usual good job of restoring the original. Interesting study of pre-WWII Japanese nationalism and pointless gang violence with a the usual over-acting and improbable acrobatic fight scenes. The female lead is a sainted virginal figure in love with a fanatic nut case. The promotional material for this film suggests that the male lead is motivated by sexual frustration but that hardly explains his psychopathic anger. Ordinarily I find Japanese movies of the pre-war period fascinating but the overdone gang fights were a bit much. It ends on an indeterminate note, probably because the sequel was never filmed.
Be a man! 11 Nov. 2007
By David Bonesteel - Published on
Format: DVD
Director Seijun Suzuki has crafted a satire of the ultra-masculine, nationalistic mentality that made Japan's entry into WWII possible. Kiroku Nanbu (Hideki Takahashi), a city boy transplanted to the countryside, devotes himself to attaining the ideal pinnacle of manliness, which requires him to forsake relations with women. He struggles with his tender feelings for Michiko (Junko Asano), a pure hearted Catholic girl who is attracted to him as well. Sharply critical of the militaristic mindset, this film is a very entertaining blend of absurdity and realism.
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