Saturday, April 23, 2005

Seijun Suzuki, et al.

I've been thinking a lot about Japanese genre films lately, in part because I have recently watched the first Takashi Miike film I've really liked (Dead or Alive 2: Birds--thanks Steve and Gabe, for the recommendation many months ago!), as well as a minor Seijun Suzuki effort, 1963's Kanto Wanderer, which is notable in my opinion almost totally for the climactic 10-15 minutes--absolutely heart-stopping colors, a sense of whimsy and spatial inventiveness, as if the aesthetic of Pistol Opera (a film I must revisit) were stuck, a bit muted, into the fabric of an otherwise innocuous genre film.

(By the way, does Kanto Wanderer technically count as a yakuza-eiga movie, is it an early example before the genre rigidified by the mid-1960s, or is it a variant? I know barely anything about this genre and am just curious.)

I have several viewing (not to mention reading) projects for this, my first post-graduation summer. One of them will be to explore further the works of Suzuki and Miike, not to mention Kinji Fukasaku's early stuff, and Koji Wakamatsu and Yasuzo Masamura, more Kitano, etc. (Actually one might say Japanese film in general. It's been a long time since I've seen anything by Mizoguchi, Oshima, or Kurosawa. I am keen to revisit a number of Ozu favorites. It'd be interesting to glimpse a few "pink films." You get the picture.) Those who read this and want to point me in the direction of really good lesser-known stuff in these veins that is accessible via video or maybe Japan Society screenings should feel free to do so. I'm interested.

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