Boy (1969) in my opinion is one of Nagisa Oshima's best pre-European productions. It is as political as his other films of the 60s and early 70s, but in this production there is less of a theatrical, talking head affront. The political content is metaphorical as the Boy (Tetuo Abe) is bullied and manipulated by his stepmother (Koyama Akiko) and father (Fumio Watanabe) into a ruse where they fake getting hit by cars in order to extort money from innocent drivers. There are some telling details that draw out the metaphor as we have the boy praying in front of a war memorial, strategically place Japanese flags,and his father's status as a wounded war veteran, which is his excuse for not being able to work or take part in the ruse. But on another level is a simple coming of age story where the Boy finally feels culpability for his role in the family's scheme that eventually leads to the death of a young girl about the Boy's age. Oshima film reflects the recurring themes of rootless materialism, alienation, and victimization that were seen in the postwar society. Shooting the characters mostly in medium and long shots from the margins of the frame, the viewer can see the family's marginalization within contemporary society, but also the rupture of the very notion of Japanese tradition - and in particular, the support system of the extended family, since the family is constantly on the move. The story starts out in Shikoku and moves west to Kyushu, then moves north through Honshu, until they arrive in Hokkaido and things begin to unravel as they have nowhere else to go as they reach the farthest point north of the nation. In this sense it calls to mind another film that documents a crime spree that spreads throughout postwar Japan also based on a true story: Shohei Imamura's Vengeance Is Mine.