A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.
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The number-three-ranked hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, which puts him into conflict with a mysterious woman whose death wish inspires her to surround herself with dead butterflies and dead birds. Worse danger comes from his own treacherous wife and finally with the number-one-ranked hit-man, known only as a phantom to those who fear his unseen presence. Written by
When Nikkatsu studio executives saw the finished product, they thought it was too terrible to be released, so they shelved it. Director Seijun Suzuki along with others in the film business, film critics, and students protested in unfairness since by contract Nikkatsu was supposed to release the finished film theatrically. It went to court, with a ruling in favor of the director. Nikkatsu had to pay for damages and have the film released. Suzuki's contract with Nikkatsu was terminated, and with the bad reputation, was unable to work on a feature film for the next 10 years. See more »
Trapped in a dead-end job? No hope for advancement? At least you're not addicted to the smell of rice.
Rice-sniffing, #3 Killer, dead butterflies, snuff films. Where to start? 'Koroshi no rakuin' is a surreal, Kafkaesque, timewarp of a film masquerading as a stylish 60's hit-man movie. Nikkatsu Studios fired Seijun Suzuki over this film's "incomprehensibility."
Suzuki is an auteur of the highest magnitude, nobody has ever used a widescreen, black and white, "Nikkatsu Scope" frame quite like him. The dense and beautifully chaotic images are overwhelming on your first viewing, it's the sort of movie that shows you something new every time you watch it.
Essentially Hanado Goro (Jo Shisido) is the yakuza's #3 Killer, but he desperately wants to be #1. As might be expected, being a hired gun is a stressful life and Hanado takes the edge off with lots of sex and the smell of boiling rice. The sex gets him embroiled in some sort of a plot and he finds himself getting much better acquainted with #1 Killer than he'd ever wanted to be.
Time backs up, swirls around, restarts, slows down. Major themes include, but are not limited to: ambition, lust, rivalry, bureaucracy, addiction, loss of self-control. There's a certain parallel in that with this picture Suzuki derailed his own career as a "salary man" making Nikkatsu yakuza flicks, many of Hanado's thoughts and impulses must have been the director's own.
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