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Rip Seijun Suzuki, The Anarchic Japanese Auteur Who Inspired Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch

  • Indiewire
Rip Seijun Suzuki, The Anarchic Japanese Auteur Who Inspired Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch
“I make movies that make no sense,” Seijun Suzuki would often say, and he wasn’t being modest. The prolific director, who died earlier this month at the age of 93, was the Jackson Pollock of Japanese cinema, an irrepressibly creative artist who painted with gobs of color and geysers of fake blood in order to defy the strictures of narrative and remind viewers that movies are more than the stories they tell.

His hyper-stylized gangster sagas, which had a way of turning the most basic B-picture plots into unfettered symphonies for the senses, were born out of a rabid intolerance for boredom; audiences never knew what was going to happen next, and sometimes it’s tempting to suspect that Suzuki didn’t either. Few directors ever did more to fundamentally demolish our understanding of what film could be, and even fewer did so while working under the auspices of a major production studio.
See full article at Indiewire »

Criterion Reflections – Genocide (1968) – Es 37

David’s Quick Take for the Tl;Dr Media Consumer:

Genocide is the fourth and final title included in Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku, a box set containing the sum total of a short lived experiment that the fabled Japanese studio conducted in the late 1960s. For a movie that doesn’t feature any giant monsters stomping on buildings or blasting victims with exploding laser beams, it otherwise manages to tick off just about every other item associated with Japanese post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror disaster cliches of its era:

a solemn moralistic condemnation of militarized atomic weaponry that both opens and closes the film in a book-ending framework the valiant effort of a few ordinary heroes who bravely put their lives at risk in order to save humanity from its self-inflicted demise involvement of hostile aliens who determine that humans are unworthy to survive after squandering the opportunity
See full article at CriterionCast »

FilmStruck is Here! Five Great Films To Watch on Day One of Criterion and Turner Classic Movies’ New Streaming Service

  • Indiewire
FilmStruck is Here! Five Great Films To Watch on Day One of Criterion and Turner Classic Movies’ New Streaming Service
Earlier this year, it was announced that Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection — perhaps the two most trusted names in the distribution and exhibition of important classic and contemporary cinema — would be joining forces to create a streaming service dedicated to sharing their combined library with cinephiles around the world. For months, it sounded too good to be true. Today, it suddenly became as real as the screen in front of your face.

If the movies are truly as dead as they say, then FilmStruck is nothing short of heaven on Earth. It’s here, it’s alive, and hot damn has it come out of the gate swinging. Hundreds of essential titles are ready to go on launch day, and while hundreds more are imminently on the way, there’s already more than enough to satisfy whatever mood you’re in and scratch itches that you didn’t even know you had.
See full article at Indiewire »

The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 45 – The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara [Part 2]

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this first episode of a two-part series, David and Trevor are joined by Pablo Knote to discuss two films (Black Sun and Thirst for Love) from Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara.

About the films:

Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made meticulous noirs, jazzy juvenile-delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the radical spirit of the 1960s, when he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studios. The five films collected here hail from that era of the Japanese New Wave, and encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Yukio Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy.
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 44 – The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara [Part 1]

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this first episode of a two-part series, David and Trevor are joined by Pablo Knote to discuss three films from Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara.

About the films:

Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made meticulous noirs, jazzy juvenile-delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the radical spirit of the 1960s, when he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studios. The five films collected here hail from that era of the Japanese New Wave, and encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Yukio Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy.

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See full article at CriterionCast »

The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 43 – Alexander Korda’s Private Lives

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor discuss Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda’s Private Lives.

About the films:

Though born to modest means in Hungary, Alexander Korda would go on to become one of the most important filmmakers in the history of British cinema. A producer, writer, and director who navigated toward subjects of major historical significance and mythical distinction, Korda made a name for his production company, London Films, with the Oscar-winning The Private Life of Henry VIII. He then continued his populist investigation behind the scenes and in the bedrooms of such figures as Catherine the Great, Don Juan, and Rembrandt. Mixing stately period drama with surprising satire, these films are exemplars of grand 1930s moviemaking.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Hiroshi Teshigahara and the Japanese New Wave

There are many names that come to mind when one looks back at the Japanese New Wave era: Nagisa Oshima, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Shohei Imamura, Masahiro Shinoda, and many, many more. The movement truly began with the adaptation of Shintaro Ishihara’s novel Crazed Fruit, released with the same name by director Ko Nakahira in his 1956 film. The film would kickoff a movement, a collective stream of films that juxtaposed a time in Japanese history where the traditional society of Japan clashed with the coming of a more contemporary way of living. The American occupation ended in 1952, bringing forth a difficult period for the Japanese individual and the struggle for the realization of purpose in a changing country.

One cannot discuss the Japanese New Wave without Hiroshi Teshigahara and his collaborations with Japanese writer Kobo Abe and composer Toru Takemitsu. Teshigahara didn’t make many films during this period of extreme
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Tiff 2014. Correspondences #3

  • MUBI
Dear Danny,

I also rode the Tokyo Tribe rollercoaster, and my head hasn’t stopped spinning yet. Slamming together the most rabid excesses of the worlds of manga comics and hip-hop music, it’s a continuous blitzkrieg: Sono’s ne plus ultra of sheer brio, and, along with Godard’s Adieu au language, the festival’s most assaultive sensory experience so far. Its pinwheel neon hues, inflamed camera movements and acrobatic gangland mugging are straight-up dilations of Seijun Suzuki’s vintage gonzo pulp—indeed, the first time I ever heard Japanese rapping on screen was during a brief interlude in Suzuki’s mock-opera Princess Raccoon. I doubt even that veteran iconoclast, however, could have dreamed up the bit in Tokyo Tribe when the vile underworld kingpin (Riki Takeuchi), swollen like an obscene parade float, pulverizes a field of warring gangs with a Gatling gun held, of course, crotch-level. Such moments of absolute glee abound,
See full article at MUBI »

Movie Poster of the Week: The films of Radley Metzger

  • MUBI
I first came to know of Radley Metzger through his posters, which bears out what the 85-year-old erstwhile king of high-class erotica told me recently, that “my respect for poster design came from my realization that more people would see my posters—for a longer period—than would see my films.” That should be rectified somewhat next week when the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York embarks on a week-long, 8-film retrospective of Metzger’s legendary, ground-breaking “Art Cinema Erotica.”

The poster that first caught my eye was for a 1975 film directed by one Henry Paris. The film was the arrestingly titled The Opening of Misty Beethoven and I was struck by its combination of the austere and the voluptuous: its clean, monochrome simplicity, its beautifully balanced composition, and its nice use of the blocky serif typeface Clarendon, a favorite of mine. That juxtaposed with the lead-off quote
See full article at MUBI »

A history of Nikkatsu: guns, girls, pigs and pantyhose

Feature Dan Auty 19 Jun 2013 - 06:55

Dan looks back at the best films to come out of Japan's Nikkatsu studio...

Formed in 1912, Nikkatsu was Japan’s oldest film studio, and prior to World War II, one the most prolific and successful. The Japanese government’s control and consolidation of the film industry during the war years effectively forced Nikkatsu to cease movie production, and the studio spent more than a decade working solely in exhibition and distribution.

In 1954, the company resumed production, and entered a period that was not only a golden era for the company, but for Japanese cinema in general. Eschewing the period samurai films being made elsewhere, Nikkatsu focused on contemporary stories - action and crime movies, comedies and the increasingly popular ‘wild youth’ films, attracting young, imaginative filmmakers who had found it hard to flourish within the regimented structure of studios like Toho and Shochiku. Throughout the 60s,
See full article at Den of Geek »

BFI Film Festival: Seasons In The Sun- The Heyday Of Nikkatsu Studios

  • CinemaRetro
Branded to Kill is among the Nikkatsu films to be screened.

The BFI will showcase a month long London film festival tribute to Japan's legendary Nikkatsu Studios during the month of June. Below is press release information:

The oldest of Japan’s film studios, Nikkatsu was established in 1912 as the Japan Cinematograph Company (Nippon katsudo shashin kaisha). Home to ‘father of Japanese cinema’ Shozo Makino, it fostered early directors like Kenji Mizoguchi, Daisuke Ito and Tomu Uchida, until restructuring of the industry by the wartime government in 1942 saw its production facilities hived off to form the new Daiei Corporation, with Nikkatsu surviving only in an exhibition capacity.

In 1954, Nikkatsu resumed production, rising phoenix-like under the guidance of studio head Kyusaku Hori to carve out a unique identity in the highly competitive market of the postwar Golden Age. Its breakthrough came with the 1956 double whammy of Takumi Furukawa’s Season of
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Hey, Toronto! The Twitch Presented Tokyo Drifters Retrospective Wraps This Week With The Warped Ones!

All good things must come to an end and the Twitch curated Tokyo Drifters: 100 Years Of Nikkatsu series does exactly that on Saturday with the screening of the final film in the series: Kurahara Koreyoshi's blast of nihilistic energy, The Warped Ones.Given the measured pace and dreamlike atmosphere of Koreyoshi Kurahara's previous film The Woman from the Sea (also screening in this series), it's hard to believe that the brash, abrasive and kinetic The Warped Ones could possibly have been made by the same director, but Kurahara's career is marked by such drastic shifts in genre, style and tone. An aimless-youth film pushed to extremes, The Warped Ones follows a trio of petty criminals freshly released from jail as they swagger through the streets...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Hey, Toronto! Nikkatsu's Genre Blender The Woman From The Sea Screens Saturday! Win Tickets Now!

The Twitch curated Tokyo Drifters: 100 Years Of Nikkatsu screening series showcases a classic story of the supernatural at the Tiff Bell Lightbox this Saturday with a rare screening of Kurahara Koreyoshi's The Woman From The Sea.A gorgeous, dreamlike fusion of fantasy, romance and horror from Koreyoshi Kurahara, one of the most accomplished, prolific and diverse directors in the Nikkatsu stable. The Woman from the Sea is set in a small fishing village, where one seagoing family has lost every one of its men to the unforgiving waves. The last surviving male member of the clan is yacht-loving youth Toshio (Tamio Kawachi), who one day meets a beautiful, mysterious young woman adrift on the ocean. He soon becomes infatuated by her, but her rather eccentric...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Hey, Toronto! The Twitch Curated Tokyo Drifters Series Continues Saturday With Hard Boiled Noir Intimidation!!

The Twitch curated Tokyo Drifters: 100 Years Of Nikkatsu screening series continues this Saturday with a rare screening of Kurahara Koreyoshi's Intimidation. Kurahara's film is one of the purest examples of a Japanese take on American film noir and has seldom been seen on screens on this side of the ocean.A lean, efficient crime thriller from prolific Nikkatsu vet Koreyoshi Kurahara, Intimidation focuses on Takita (Nobuo Kaneko), an ambitious, rising bank manager at a regional branch clawing his way to the top of his firm by any means necessary -- most often by walking all over his meek underling and childhood friend Nakaike (Akira Nishimura). On the verge of his promotion to head office, Takita has his world upended when a mysterious blackmailer appears with...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Moresco Helms "Harbor," Adapts "Intimidaiton"

"Crash" co-scribe Bobby Moresco has adapted the script and is set to direct the indie crime thriller "The Harbor" says Variety.

Based on J.P. O'Donnell's "Deadly Codes", the story follows a discredited former Boston narcotics cop turned private investigator who takes on an intriguing murder case which ends up being a part of a government conspiracy. Filming kicks off this Fall.

Moresco has also turned in the script and is in negotiating to direct a modern-day adaptation of Koreyoshi Kurahara's 1960 noir "Intimidation" to Japanese studio Nikkatsu.
See full article at Dark Horizons »

'Crash' Writer Bobby Moresco To Direct Thriller 'The Harbor'; Also Remaking Japanese Noir 'Intimidation'

'Crash' Writer Bobby Moresco To Direct Thriller 'The Harbor'; Also Remaking Japanese Noir 'Intimidation'
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and though we haven't read it, we're going to assume that Jp O'Donnell's "Deadly Codes" isn't exactly a literary masterwork. But clearly, "Crash" writer Bobby Moresco has seen something movie-worthy in the material as he's setting it up as his next directorial project.

While primarily known as the screenwriter for Paul Haggis' divisive Oscar-winner, Moresco has also gotten behind the camera, most notably for gangster flick "10th & Wolf" as well as for episodes for the since-canceled series "The Black Donnellys" and "Crash" (both of which had Haggis working on them as well). He's also been busy as a screenwriter penning "Castro's Daughter," which will star Antonio Banderas, and is doing a rewrite on Todd Field's gangster tale "Hubris." All this to say that the man is no neophyte, but right now his focus seems to be on directing.
See full article at The Playlist »

Hong Kong International Film Festival 2012

  • MUBI
The 36th annual Hong Kong International Film Festival has opened today and will screen 283 films from 50 countries through April 4. Betsy Sharkey's there for the Los Angeles Times: "It is a time of transition for the Pearl of the Orient, a territory of 7 million that reverted from British to Chinese rule 15 years ago. Hong Kong, perhaps more than any other place outside the mainland, has felt the rise of this new superpower in its art, commerce and politics, and the many of city's movies in the three-week festival capture that dynamic. Consider the opening night film, Love in the Buff, director Pang Ho-Cheung's sardonic look at two former lovers who are part of the relatively recent reverse wave of migration — moving from the ex-colony to Beijing, where job prospects are suddenly brighter." It's a sequel to 2010's Love in a Puff. "In Life Without Principle, Johnnie To crafts an action-satire commenting on wealth-obsessed Hong Kong.
See full article at MUBI »

Hideaki Nitani, 1930 - 2012

  • MUBI
Hideaki Nitani and Yujiro Ishihara

in Toshio Masuda's Red Handkerchief (1964)

Via Cinema Strikes Back

"Sad news the weekend for fans of Nikkatsu action films of the 1960s," writes Chris MaGee at J-Film Pow-Wow. "Actor Hideaki Nitani, best known for his supporting roles in such films as Underworld Beauty and Tokyo Drifter, died of pneumonia on Saturday, January 7th at a Tokyo hospital. He was 81…. In 1954 Nikkatsu had finally begun to produce films again after having temporarily shuttering itself during the post-war Us Occupation. Joining Nitani during this hiring blitz were stars like Akira Kobayashi, Yujiro Ishihara and Jo Shishido. Nitani made his screen debut in 1956 in Takumi Furukawa's The People of Okinawa. This would begin a string of roles, mostly as tough guys and gangsters, in the films of Seijun Suzuki, Yuzo Kawashima, Ko Nakahira, and Koreyoshi Kurahara, amongst others."

From the Mainichi Daily News: "Nitani shifted his
See full article at MUBI »

Nyff 2011. Nikkatsu Centennial

  • MUBI
Velvet Bullets and Steel Kisses: Celebrating the Nikkatsu Centennial was a sidebar at this year's New York Film Festival that Dan Sallitt, writing a couple of weeks ago, found "so exciting that it threatens to overshadow the main slate: a retrospective of the Japanese studio Nikkatsu, whose opportunistic shifts of focus always seemed to open doors for some of Japan's most creative filmmakers. Compare film magazine Kinema Junpo's 1999 and 2009 lists of all-time greatest Japanese films to the Lincoln Center series schedule, and count the overlaps." Last year in the Notebook, Dan reviewed one of the 37 films in the series, Tomu Uchida's Earth (1939).

"The sidebar is peppered with nearly impossible to see rediscoveries," notes Steve Dollar at GreenCine Daily: "early silent films like 1927's A Diary of Chuji's Travels and harshly realistic World War II dramas like Mud and Soldiers. Shot on location in China in 1939, the latter film blends
See full article at MUBI »

Nyff 2011: Critic's Notebook II

by Steve Dollar

One year ahead of its 50th anniversary, the New York Film Festival inaugurated a new era this month. The Film Society of Lincoln Center's new megabucks Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center—and what's the shorthand for this joint? The Ellie? The "Fc"?—added two theaters and a video amphitheater to the mix, allowing for a leisurely expansion. Actual screenings were bumped up 50 percent, to more than 300 during the fest's 17-day run, with sidebars and revivals and special events out the yin-yang and a fresh panel discussion any time you paused in the lobby between shows.

It's a nice burst of energy for a festival that can seem pretty staid if you've just dropped in from, say, Fantastic Fest (as I did). The cultural underpinnings of the Upper West Side are stupendously funkless, even if the Ellie's new cafe serves up a delicious $12 tuna sandwich. So programs like
See full article at GreenCine Daily »
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