BRANDED TO KILL
KOROSHI NO RAKUIN
1967, Janus Films, 91 min, Japan, Dir: Seijun Suzuki

When Japanese New Wave bad boy Seijun Suzuki delivered this brutal, hilarious and visually inspired masterpiece to the executives at his studio, he was promptly fired. BRANDED TO KILL tells the ecstatically bent story of a yakuza assassin with a fetish for sniffing steamed rice (the chipmunk-cheeked superstar Joe Shishido) who botches a job and ends up a target himself. This is Suzuki at his most extreme - the flabbergasting pinnacle of his 1960s pop-art aesthetic.


FIGHTING DELINQUENTS
KUTABARE GURENTAI
1960, Nikkatsu, 80 min, Japan, Dir: Seijun Suzuki

This is Suzuki's first film starring teen idol Wada Kōji. Kōji plays a young construction worker whose wacky antics annoy the stiff-necked adults of his town until he takes on a crooked real-estate developer and saves the community. It’s also Suzuki's first color film, and he paints the town red, as it were. Text courtesy of Doc Films.


THE FLOWERS AND THE ANGRY WAVES
HANA TO DOTO
1964, Nikkatsu, 92 min, Japan, Dir: Seijun Suzuki

Director Seijun Suzuki’s classic spin on the traditional ninkyo yakuza genre, with Akira Kobayashi (BLACK TIGHT KILLERS) as a young antihero in a coal carters union in the turn-of-the-20th-century Taisho era up against a rival evil gang. He is also caught between the virginal Chieko Matsubara and the more worldly Naoko Kubo. Midway through the saga, his face is slightly disfigured, something that must have wreaked havoc with the sensibilities of matinee-idol/pop star Kobayashi’s younger female fanbase. Also with Tamio Kawaji as a sword-wielding assassin in Zorro cape and hat!


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