To appear in his first fiction feature—a disjunctive, unruly portrait of juvenile reform school inmates—after making several documentaries, Susumu Hani sought out young amateurs who had passed through juvenile detention and encouraged them to improvise on set. At the center of the movie was Hiroshi Asai, an 18-year-old thief whose imprisonment becomes the occasion for a succession of harsh and riveting setpieces: confrontations between the boys and their officers and guards; military drills; bullying regimens; escape attempts; and flashbacks to the detainee’s lives on the outside. Dropped by its initial distributor and hotly debated upon its release, Bad Boys had an immediate influence on Japanese film culture and helped launch the New Wave in which Hani would go on to have an important part. 35mm print courtesy of the Harvard Film Archive.
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