Tragic news: on February 13th, legendary filmmaker Seijun Suzuki, behind such films as Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, passed away at 93. Suzuki may well be the Jean-Luc Godard of Japan: like Godard, Suzuki’s films were stylish blends of violence and humor paying tribute and taking aim at Hollywood cinema. Renown for his yakuza genre films, Suzuki’s work inspired the likes of Wong Kar-wai and Quentin Tarantino (it’s difficult not to watch Kill Bill and not be reminded of Suzuki).
I had the great fortune last year of seeing a rare print of Suzuki’s The Call of Blood last year. Although it isn’t one of the director’s most well-known pieces, the film epitomizes Suzuki’s auteurism perfectly, a wild feature that’s as boisterous as it is sharp. He will be missed.