Calendar

Mar
10
Tue
Nippon Nights #7: Branded to Kill by Seijun Suzuki
March 10, 2015

Nippon Nights is a monthly series presenting different genres, styles and generations of Japanese Cinema to Bay Area audiences.

Join us for a discussion with Mr. Aaron Kerner (San Francisco State University Cinema Department Associate Professor) after the screening to discuss the world of Seijun Suzuki

“Reputedly one of Seijun Suzuki’s finest works and unquestionably very stylish in its ‘Scope framings (Jim Jarmusch copied a few shots from it in his Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)”

-Jonathan Rosenbaum,  Chicago Reader

Unknown-5A 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.

Directed by Seijun Suzuki, 91min, 1967, Japan

Branded to Kill review – genuinely bizarre Japanese thriller

Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a very 1960s metaphysical thriller, a cult item treasured by connoisseurs as the kind of film that – for all its delirious craziness – could even be a truer product of Japan than the higher artefacts of Ozu and Kurosawa. It is an erotic and dreamlike pulp noir, and its disdain for any sort of conventional plot infuriated the director’s employers at the Nikkatsu studio. Jô Shishido is Hanada, a hired killer with a sexual fetish for the smell of boiled rice; a bungled job brings him into mysterious contact with Misako (Anne Mari), a woman who hires him for three hits. He becomes obsessed with her, and finds himself in a duel with the legendary top killer, the No 1 (Kôji Nanbara). The obvious comparisons are with Melville’s Le Samouraï or Godard’s Pierrot le Fou – this film holds up against these perfectly well – with hints of John Boorman’s Point Blank and Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. It is, however, closer to Luis Buñuel in its gleefully disquieting insistence on sudden horrific closeups: the glass eye removed from the skull, the bullet hole, the bleeding head in the toilet bowl. Where Godard had his jump-cut, Suzuki has his disorientating ellipses, his sudden dreamlike time-slips. Genuinely fascinating and bizarre.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Nippon Nights Program is Endorsed by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco & Japan Foundation

Apr
16
Thu
Nippon Nights #8: GHOST IN THE SHELL
April 16, 2015

Nippon Nights is a monthly series presenting different genres, styles and generations of Japanese Cinema to Bay Area audiences. Check out our upcoming screenings:

Join us for a discussion with Gilles Poitras, writer on anime, manga and Japanese culture after the screening to discuss the world of Ghost in the Shell.

Ghost in the Shell stands as one of the pioneering films of anime history, one that captures the imagination with its intricate story and dazzles the eyes with its gorgeous animation.

-Jeff Beck, Examiner.com

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The year is 2029. The world has become intensively information oriented and humans are well-connected to the network. Crime has developed into a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network. To prevent this, Section 9 is formed. These are cyborgs with incredible strengths and abilities that can access any network on Earth.

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, 83min., 1995, Japan, English subtitled.

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Nippon Nights Program is Endorsed by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco & Japan Foundation