Shonen Jidai (1991)

Countries - Japan  |  
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Veteran director Masahiro Shinoda spins this childhood drama reminiscent of Yasujiro Ozu's masterpiece I Was Born But.... Set in the summer of 1944, the film centers on Shinji (Tetsuya Fujita), a ten-year-old Tokyoite evacuated from the ruins of Tokyo to rural Toyama prefecture. Compared to the straw sandals and threadbare clothes of the locals, Shinji's crisp school uniform looks both glamorous and strange. The schoolyard boss of the neighborhood is Takeshi (Yuji Horioka), the hard-driving son of a fisherman who says little but throws a mean punch. Shinji soon falls in with the neighborhood crowd, but tension soon builds between the two boys. When Shinji drops the group in favor of meeting a girl visiting from Osaka, he is later forced by Takeshi to sing in front of them as penance. Yet, as the film progresses, Takeshi's command of the gang slowly slips.