Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release of Youth of the Beast [Yajû no seishun], the breakthrough film from Seijun Suzuki, the director of such '60s New Wave Japanese classics as Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill. Starring Jô Shishido, the iconic star of countless Suzuki and Nikkatsu Films pictures throughout the 1960s, this is the first release of the cult film on UK DVD and Blu-ray.
Right on the heels of the riotous Go to Hell, Bastards: Detective Bureau 2 3, Seijun Suzuki unleashed what would come to be seen as his true breakthrough, the film that would cement "the Suzuki sensibility": Youth of the Beast [Yajû no seishun]. A kaleidoscopic fantasia that contains "youth" and "beast" only insofar as 1963 pop/youth culture was that violently upstart thing, – not unlike the yakuza?
And so Youth of the Beast is a yakuza tale with a premise like Akira Kurosawa's Yôjinbô, but denuded of an easy definition of which side is which. It stars Suzuki's iconic '60s regular Jô Shishido, with his dare-you-to-call-them-out artificial cheek implants like new acting blasphemy. There are drug-addled whores, gunfights in a new colour apocalypse, and at least one alien landscape: the sudden mind-searing eruption of a sulphur yellow desert like an action-figure playset with overspill of unbridled lust...
Suzuki's infectious go-for-broke energy is assisted by a telephoto lens that serves at once as phallus and yoni in the masterful, Minnelli-worthy 'Scope framing. His film would go on to inspire John Woo's forthcoming remake titled Day of the Beast; Nikkatsu have in recent times deemed this movie one of their treasures.
Youth of the Beast will be released on UK dual format (DVD and Blu-ray) on 27th October 2014 by Eureka! Entertainment as part of the Masters of Cinema series at the RRP of £17.99.
Featuring a new high-definition 1080p presentation of the film on the Blu-ray, and progressive encode on the DVD plus new and improved optional English subtitles, the disc will also include a 36-page booklet featuring a new essay by Frederick Veith, and rare archival imagery.