“To experience a film by Japanese B-movie visionary Seijun Suzuki is to experience Japanese cinema in all its frenzied, voluptuous excess.” – Manohla Dargis, L.A. Weekly
Little known in the Western world except by a growing cult of enthusiasts, Suzuki’s films have long provoked controversy in Japan. While working for many years as a relatively anonymous director of “B” pictures and violent action films, he honed a colorful and iconoclastic style that brought him not just popularity but notoriety.
Working almost exclusively in the gangster (yakuza) genre throughout his career, Suzuki consistently linked violence with sex, and popular culture with death and destruction. His films are profoundly modern in their alienation, kineticism, and spirit of rebellion, the very qualities that have made them controversial. Over the term of his employment at Nikkatsu Studio, his progressively individual approach to the conventions of the gangster film resulted in his public dismissal in 1968. The studio head declared the brilliantly baroque BRANDED TO KILL unsuitable for release and “incomprehensible,” a decision that angered many of Suzuki’s youthful fans and triggered massive student demonstrations in his support.