January 18 only


Nippon Nights begins 2017 with BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY (aka THE YAKUZA PAPERS), BATTLE ROYALE director Kenji Fukasaku’s genre defining 1973 gangster movie often referred to as the “Japanese GODFATHER.” Adapted from a series of newspaper articles by real life yakuza Kozo Mino, BATTLES chronicles ten years in the life of the Yamamori crime family from its birthplace in the black markets of postwar Hiroshima through the eyes of a young ex-soldier (portrayed by action superstar Bunta Suguwara) named Shozo Hirono. As Shozo moves up the ranks of the gang empire and his clan establishes itself within the larger mob culture, he struggles to maintain a sense of honor despite the hopelessly cutthroat and chaotic world of modern crime. While previous Japanese gangster movies (known as Ninkyo eiga) were largely tales of chivalry set in prewar Japan, BATTLES started a new genre, the Jitsuroku eiga (“actual record”) movie, in which violence exists not to establish heroism or bring justice but instead is an outgrowth of twisted desires and greed. Fukusaku brings Shozo’s bleak world to life using zoom lenses, hand-held cameras, and by having his actors use a hyper-frenetic style that throws the spectator almost physically into the action. Nearly every Japanese crime film since BATTLES (including the seven direct sequels that followed ), as well as many of today’s documentary style horror and action films from all shores, echo Fukusaku’s technique, but rarely as artfully–the intense action is captured in widescreen and shot at times at odd angles, giving the simultaneous impression of claustrophobia and scale; also, the action often stops on a freeze-frame with a subscript, giving the impression of life turned immediately into a newspaper photo. Toshiaki Tsushima’s iconic musical score is unforgettable–after seeing this, you will never be able to think “yakuza” again without having the BATTLES theme course through your brain! 

Start the new year off at the Roxie with this all time classic which was named one of the top 10 Japanese movies of all time in an extensive critic’s poll published by Kinema Jumpo magazine in 2009 and is revered today by filmmakers as diverse as Quentin Tarantino and William Friedkin. If you’ve seen BATTLE ROYALE but not BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY, we invite you especially to come, so hopefully you will agree that Fukasaku is one of the masters of modern cinema and and should be considered on par with other Japanese greats like Ozu, Masumura, Mizoguchi and Kurosawa!  

99m/Japanese with English Subtitles/HD Digital



Nippon Nights: BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY: Upcoming Showtimes