Long before he gained fame for winning the 1983 Cannes Golden Palm award for The Ballad of Narayama, director Shohei Imamura created this superbly crafted, sardonic drama about the yakuza (Japanese Mafia) and the modernization of Japan after World War II. Kinta (Hiroyuki Nagato) is caught in the mesh of poverty and opts out by joining the local yakuza gang.
His greed draws him into the drug dealing, pimping, and racketeering that fill the gang's coffers. One day he is given the legit job of tending the pigs owned by his mob boss, who live on the slop thrown out by the neighborhood's American military base. Kinta's girlfriend begs him to go straight and settle down, but he can't see a future in it.
As the final denouement nears, increasingly acerbic commentary, mixed with pointed symbolism, decries American treatment of Japan and the Japanese' own moral corruption.