'Kids Return' Japanese film screening.
About the movie: Shinji and Masaru meet some years after they graduated from high school. They used to be best friends but have grown apart. In high school they were troublemakers, mostly harmless they try to get into adult cinemas or skip classes to dangle pornographic parodies of teachers outside the class window but sometimes more dangerous they extort money from other students and burn a teacher's new car because he annoys them.
One day Masaru, the leader of the pair, is challenged by the older brother of one of the school kids he terrorizes. The challenger is a boxer and floors him with a one-two punch.
Masaru decides to take up boxing to get his revenge. Since he and Shinji do everything together, he makes Shinji join too. It turns out that Shinji has natural talent: he. Beats. Masaru easily in a sparring match and attracts the attention of the chairman of the gym. While Masaru loses interest, Shinji goes on to turn pro. In a succession of comic turns, some of the manzai characters that we have already seen in the high school turn up at the gym.
Meanwhile, Masaru has joined a yakuza outfit that he had run into a few times. When he runs into Shinji in the local coffee shop, he ignores him. When the group executes two turncoats, the boss gives the murder weapon to Masaru's predecessor in buying cigarettes and casually tells him to confess to the crimes. At first Masaru rises quickly through the ranks, coming to lead a small subgroup of his own. He comes back to .visit but this pair that used to be inseparable are now headed in different directions. When Shinji turns up at a bar to meet him, he finds that Masaru has been called away on "business." Masaru turns up the next day but the trainer sends him away: Shinji cannot afford to be seen with gangsters. One day, the head of Masaru's yakuza group is shot and killed by a rival gang. Masaru vents frustration at his bosses’ lack of a direct response to this action and storms out of the group meeting. His immediate superior and rival offers to teach him a lesson: he is taken behind a warehouse and beaten mercilessly before being hacked with a samurai sword and abandoned.
Shinji, too, encounters obstacles to his rise. Hayashi' a fading pro, takes him under his wing, teaching him useful, if illegal, boxing tactics but also bad habits such as drinking and smoking, as well as drug-taking and self-induced vomiting to disguise the effects of the first two. In the end Shinji loses his edge and, one the same night that Masaru Is battered, he is badly beaten in the match that will decide his professional prospects. In the following scene a new prospect hogs the limelight at the gym.
Another story of decline and fall parallels that of the two main characters. Hiroshi is a mild- mannered schoolmate, in love. With Sachiko, a waitress in the local coffee shop, Sachiko ignores Hiroshi and his love letters while Masaru and Shinji ridicule him. But eventually Sachiko yields to Hiroshi's persistence (and job prospects) and they marry, after Hiroshi has left school and joined a scale company as a salesman. However, the weak willed Hiroshi quits because his friend does and ends up driving a taxi. Yet even this profession is too much for him. On the same day that Shinji and Masaru meet their come-uppance, we see that Hiroshi has driven his taxi into a rice paddy.
Back in the present, Masaru and Shinji ride back to their old school over the bridge they used to train on. They, share the same bike and cycle around the school playground just as they did when they were students there. As they cycle in circles, Shinji asks, "Are we finished already?" and Masaru replies, "Don't be stupid. We haven't even begun."
Year : 1996
Duration : 108 min.
Directed and Scripted by : Kitano Takeshi