Get local news delivered straight to your phone

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

In Battle Royale, director Kinji Fukasaku’s vision of things to come (joblessness, truancy, and sass-back) has become a national-security issue. The government’s solution: pit ninth-graders against their classmates in a fight to the death to thin out their ranks. Stranded on a remote island and armed with only a map and a weapons grab bag (bonus if you score a machete, bummer if you get stuck with the saucepan lid), the kids are strapped with collars that will detonate if one winner isn’t left standing after 72 hours. If overthought, the film can be read as a cautionary tale of the cutthroat competition for employment and higher education facing Japanese youth. But so much more than that, Battle Royale is a tale about doomed teenage love, perky girls with machine guns, and exploding heads. It makes those Marquesas jerks look like they’re on Double Dare. Released in Japan two years ago, this film is never coming to a Blockbuster near you. The Washington Psychotronic Film Society spares you the heartbreak of $40 fifth-generation bootlegs with shitty tracking at 8 p.m. at Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse, 2001 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington. $2 (suggested donation). (202) 736-1732. (Shauna Miller)