An introductory viewing guide to Seijun Suzuki

  • An introductory viewing guide to Seijun Suzuki
  • Annabelle Fitzherbert
  • September 14, 2017

In some sad news for all film fans and filmmakers, legendary Japanese film director Seijun Suzuki passed away this year at the age of 93.

The man most famously behind 1967’s Branded to Kill (as well as 39 other films he created for film studio, Nikkatsu, at the time) was an important film figure in the 50s and 60s. He created a brand that actor and fan Connor Jessup calls “wild surrealist, absurdist pop-art gangster films.”

Renowned for his role in the Japanese New Wave era of film, Suzuki was best known for his entertainingly surreal and experimental body of work that spanned across five decades. Despite being blacklisted from the industry following the completion of his masterpiece Branded to Kill, Suzuki’s work has inspired some of the best directors today, such as Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann, and Jim Jarmusch.

For those of you who’ve never seen his films, fear not, as this month on World Movies we’re showing four of his essential films.

They are:

Branded to Kill (1967) – Available now  on Foxtel On Demand

This was commonly thought of as his masterpiece. Branded to Kill was actually the last film he made for Nikkatsu and he got fired immediately afterwards. The studios had been telling him for years to reel it in and this was the most absurd film he had ever made. The film is in black and white but it’s maybe the most colourful thing you’ll ever see!

WATCH the trailer now.

Tokyo Drifter (1966) – Available now  on Foxtel On Demand

Suzuki is like Willy Wonka: every scene here has as many colours as you can possibly fit into it.

WATCH the trailer now.

Youth of the Beast (1963) – Sunday 17 September 6pm

Youth of the Beast (Yaju no Seishun) was a breakthrough for Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark.

WATCH the trailer now.

Gate of Flesh (1964) – Sunday 24 September 6pm

Gate of Flesh is one of the earliest examples of the sado-masochistic soft-core sex films called pinku eiga that would grow by the 1970s into one of Japan’s largest, and domestically most popular, genres. Suzuki directed this gritty, stridently anti-American account of prostitution, set in the black markets and rubble of Tokyo during the immediate postwar era.

WATCH the trailer now.

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