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.
After World War II, some Tokyo prostitutes band together with a strict code: no pimps, attack any street walker who comes into our territory, defend the abandoned building we call home, and... See full summary »
In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of ... See full summary »
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 »
While the British were playing the psychedelic numbers game with "The Prisoner," 1967 brought the Japanese Seijun Suzuki's "Branded to Kill." This story of a hit-man reduced to a number leads a cold killer through a surreal journey to his humanity. As the movie reveals emotions to the main character, he is struggling with his past, and is pitted against the mysterious #1.
This movie, outside of being visually stunning, is exceptional in how it explores emotions versus purpose. It beautifully juxtaposes the drive for a career, its duty and its devastation, against the desire for love and the weakness of human nature. "Branded to Kill" meshes the beauty of the film noir shadows with a surrealism laid on the foundations of Luis Bunuel. This hardboiled tail meshes dark shots with cut outs and overlays, as if a the Yakuza were shot by Man Ray.
Thankfully most of Suzuki's films have been released on video. Now he may achieve the respect and notoriety that he has earned.
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