8 April 2010 | KnatLouie
Roughly 18 Roughs..
I was fortunate enough to catch a cinema screening of this rare semi-masterpiece by the Japanese New Wave-director Yoshishige Yoshida, who was one of Japan's most prolific directors during the 1960s.
The cinema had this listed with the title "The 18 Who Stirred Up a Storm", but on the English subtitles it was "The 18 Roughs", so the actual international title for this seems a bit random. I just call it "The 18" for short, and most people (who know this film) should identify it rather quickly.
Anyway, the plot is as follows: A young man, who has formerly been a "rough" himself, is hired by his friend (whom he refers to as a "slave-trader") to look after a bunch of immigrant workers, who have come to the town of Kure, in the Hiroshima Prefecture (which still shows signs of the American bombings). He does not like his job very much, and seems to really loathe the young workers, and frequently calls them derogatory names to show his lack of respect. But as time goes by, he softens his attitude, and they grow a closer relationship together.
The man (I can't remember his name, but he's the lead character) also is reluctant to admit to his feelings for a young girl who lives nearby, and doesn't take her wooing seriously. Their relationship also grows during the course of the movie, but it is not without complications along the way.
I was not familiar with Yoshishige Yoshida's works before I saw this movie, but I thought it was a very well-made production, and I found the story to be quite compelling and interesting, even though I am usually not too thrilled with "regular" New Wave-films.
So to summarize, this is a very good film, with a lot of interesting camera-work, and a great story overall. Highly recommended.