Director: Seijun Suzuki
Runtime: 91 min
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
“I didn’t try to make it surreal, but that’s how people see it. I consider that a triumph.”
– Seijun Suzuki
A Seijun Suzuki regular, Jo Shishido, stars as Goro Hanada, a third-ranked yakuza hitman with a bizarre fetish for the smell of steamed rice. His mad mission to be number one backfires on him when he becomes a target instead.
His most exuberantly disorienting film up till then, Branded to Kill is arguably the most well-known entry in Suzuki’s extensive filmography, achieving a cult-like status in the decades after. However at the time of its making, Nikkatsu president Kyasaku Hori fiercely disliked the film, and dismissed the director for making “incomprehensible films”. Suzuki filed a lawsuit and members of the industry and the public were galvanised to support his cause. Suzuki won the case but was unable to make theatrical films for a decade.
For the full Retrospective: Seijun Suzuki programme, please click here.
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