Donning a kimono and brandishing an oil-paper umbrella and a concealed tanto, a man dazzlingly assassinates a crime boss, his appearance hidden until execution. Double crossed by his gang, our crime saturated hit-man’s life is threatened, and subsequently rescued by his younger brother – an aspiring artist who becomes the killer he isn’t. Fearing for their lives, our brothers set out for a safe haven away from their inevitable pursuers, winding up in the mining town of Manchuria, a place that only alludes to a perfect utopia for our fugitives. Hidden under a guise of falsity, their existence beholden to the embrace of a new type of gang, we begin to see the brother’s grapple with shedding their former selves; one that covers his tracks, while the younger falters back from his actions. Despite settling down away from the life of a yakuza, there remains a continual sense of urgency and movement, one that kicks up sand and cloaks our world in a false identity and a distorted hope.
Tag: Seijun Suzuki
“We have to change the negative things into positive. In today’s Japanese film industry, we always say we don’t have enough budget, that people don’t go to see the films. But we can think of it in a positive way, meaning that if audiences don’t go to the cinema we can make any movie we want. After all, no matter what kind of movie you make it’s never a hit, so we can make a really bold, daring movie. There are many talented actors and crew, but many Japanese movies aren’t interesting. Many films are made with the image of what a Japanese film should be like. Some films venture outside those expectations a little bit, but I feel we should break them.”
The above quote is from Takashi Miike. I know it because writer Warren Ellis shared it a few years back. I love it. Ellis used it in reference to Jack Kirby’s comic adaptation of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY for Marvel Comics. It was an apt reference there and I think it works for plenty of other creators who have transcended their circumstances to create work above and beyond what’s expected of them, their place in the pop culture hierarchy or their genre.
Picture Vito Corleone wearing a lumpy sweater with crumbs from his stale breakfast lobster claw pastry littered throughout the poorly stitched threads. He stands up from his chair and a cloud of powdered sugar fills the air. He wipes the excess orange juice from his lip (foreshadowing?) and hits you with a threatening message. You would laugh your way out of his office.