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Slight Fever of a 20 Year Old
Slight Fever of a 20 Year Old
Actors: Yoshihiko Hakamada, Reiko Kataoka
Director: Ryosuke Hashiguchi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 54min

A teen movie with a twist. Not afraid to show life in Japan as it really is, film maker Ryosuke Hashiguchi weaves a story of two young Tokyo hustlers trying to make something of their lives. Tatsuro is a sullen teenager ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Yoshihiko Hakamada, Reiko Kataoka
Director: Ryosuke Hashiguchi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Water Bearer Films, Inc
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/01/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1993
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1993
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Japanese tale of sullen youth and unrequitted love
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Tatsuro is a bored and sullen middle-class Tokyo young man just out of his teens, who skips college classes to work as a male prostitute in hustler bar. There he meets Shin, a younger, less motivated but equally bored co-worker, who quickly develops a crush on the older boy. They are friendly to each other, but actually confide more in their respective female best friends, who sense an attraction between the two boys before they see it themselves. When Shin "comes out" to his parents, Tatsuro lets him stay at his place temporarily, which forces both boys to face their feelings, which their work has taught them to repress.

"Hatachi no binetsu" translates literally to "A Touch of Fever", but has been renamed "Slight Fever of a 20-Year-Old" for its recent release on DVD. Released theatrically in Japan in 1993, at a time when gays were never "out" publicly to friends or family, it was an extremely popular landmark film for its non-stereotypical portrayal of its gay characters. In the DVD commentary (filmed ten years later), Screenwriter/Director Ryosuke Hashiguchi recalls that he did not describe the characters as gay, even to the actors, for fear that they would lean toward the feminine, campy depictions of homosexuals that were the rule in Japanese cinema. He also reports receiving "hundreds" of letters from gay and lesbian teens, thanking him for letting them feel that they were not the only ones.

Shot on a small budget, with amateur actors and by an amateur filmmaker (at the time, although he has had subsequent successes), "Slight Fever.." isn't visually impressive, but valuable for providing a little-seen insight into the attitudes of middle class Tokyp teenagers, about sexuality as well as life in general. Trivia note: director Hashiguchi also appears in the film, as the final "john" of Tatsuro in a pivotal, emotional scene at the end of the film. Not for everyone, but I give it 4 stars out of 5."
Style and Strength
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Slight Fever of a 20 Year Old"

Style and Strength

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

It is always interesting to look at foreign film and the way it handles gay issues. This Japanese film, "Slight Fever of a 20 Year Old" is about two students who want to make extra money as hustlers. Filmed very slowly with long camera shots from a single perspective, all of the focus is on the actors and the small details of the things they do. In one scene one of the boys who is secretly in love with the other one lies on the roof of a school building, doing nothing but looking at the photograph of his friend which he stole from their pimp. His girlfriend just hangs around, very bored with the situation. This kind of boredom is not unique as all of the youth in the film seem to suffer from it. They have no direction in life and harbor no ambition and are very much not in touch with their own feelings. The two boys have no idea of how to deal with their emotions which, of course, does not give any great hope for happiness for either or for both together.
Hashiguchi Ryosuke, the director of the film paints an achingly beautiful portrait of the two Japanese hustlers, their girl friends and the infatuation that Shin (Endo Masashi) has for the other, Tatsuro (Hakamada Yoshihiko). Shin is the more feminine of the two while Tatsuro is the more successful rent boy.
There is a dinner scene which amuses but by and large there is only serious drama here.
The story is full of twists and turns based on the ideas that the characters remain strong even when vulnerable. The biggest problem the boys have is to overcome self deception.
The movie is, at times, difficult to understand. Some of the issues do not end up in with nice compact solutions and this makes for difficulty in interpretation. The film provides a great deal to think abut and even with its faults it does give us a look into Japan--one which we would not ordinarily get.
I think it is a nice movie
Akira Touya | Berlin | 08/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"it is a nice movie in spite of the fact that i was not certain how i felt about it. i am happy i watched it, to be sure, but it was more soft and emotional than i expected. yes it was quite good and you should watch it."
Great Movie
H. Sevor | USA | 05/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I really liked this movie. The story was intriguing, and the characters all seemed real enough. The only problem I had with the movie was that it was vague in some places, but not so much that it distracted from the story. I would recommend this movie to anyone interested."