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“The Flowers of Evil” (“Les Fleurs du Mal”), an 1857 collection by poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), is now considered a masterpiece of French literature. But, shortly after its publication, French authorities, scandalized by its treatment of then-taboo topics like lesbianism and post-death decay, banned six of its poems while fining their author for offending public morals.

Strangely, “The Flowers of Evil” is the favorite book of Takao Kasuga (Kentaro Ito), a student in a rural junior high school and the hero of Noboru Iguchi’s eponymously titled film. No poet manque, Kasuga is a normal enough kid, if one with bad grades, nerdy pals and a hopeless crush on the class beauty, Nanako Saeki (Shiori Akita).

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