June 4, 2023
1536.) Vintage, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Seijun Suzuki’s birth!: Part two of my Deceased Artiste tribute to Seijun Suzuki picks up where I left off in the first show – with the film that got him fired from his studio, the vibrant, clever, stylish, and completely crazy yakuza drama Branded to Kill (1967). From that point we jump to his “comeback” in the late Seventies with a Funhouse favorite, A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness, a peculiar meditation on fame and how women are ground up in show business. Then it’s on to his arthouse period with the “Tasho trilogy,” three films set in a period where Western styles were taking over Japan (and Alain Resnais-like fugue states and fluid identities have taken over Suzuki’s characters). We end as his career did, with the outrageous and imaginative Pistol Opera (a variation on Branded to Kill from 2001) and the trippy musical Princess Raccoon (2005). I’m very proud to do this exploration of Suzuki’s career, because the work of his famous filmmaker fans is well known to most arthouse viewers, but his own films are known mostly to cultists.