Melbourne Cinematheque- The Youth of the Beast: One Hundred Years of Nikkatsu, week III

25 Jun

Having made over forty films for Nikkatsu studios, Melbourne Cinematheque is closing their retrospective with two films by Seijun Suzuki. Making many Yakuza/mafia B-genre films, Suzuki became more and more interested in the surreal and created an extremely distinct visual style, drawing the ire of the studio which eventually got him fired and black listed for ten years.

Kanto Wanderer (1963) portrays two relationships in one man’s life; his romantic interest in an unattainable woman from his past, and his devotion and contempt to the all-male Yakuza groups of Japan. In a world where honour is everything, Katsuta is thrust into situations where tensions escalate throughout the film, finally coming to a head over a rigged card game.

Made directly after Kanto Wanderer, The Flowers and the Angry Waves (1964) looks at the corruption of honour and tradition in the face of commercialism and modernity throughout early twentieth-century Japanese society. There is a forbidden love story too, adding to the frantic and frenzied plot of one of Suzuki’s least known films.

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