In collaboration with The Japan Foundation, Japan Society New York will be marking the 100th anniversary of late director Seijun Suzuki’s birth with a mini retrospective featuring six of his films from across his career each screening from imported 35mm prints.
Feb. 3, 7pm: Kagero-za
Yusaku Matsuda stars as a confused playwright drawn to a woman who may be a ghost in Suzuki’s hallucinatory Taisho-era drama adapted from a story by Kyoka Izumi.
Feb. 4, 5pm: Satan’s Town / Love Letter
Early Nikkatsu crime feature Satan’s Town hints at the future direction of Suzuki’s career in its dark humour and anarchic use of freeze frame while charting a gang boss’ attempts to set up a new heist after getting out of prison only to find his scheme undermined by the competing desires of his gang of thieves. Satan’s Town screens with the short kayo or ballad film Love Letter starring singer Frank Nagai as a performer whose pianist makes a new discovery when she attempts to visit her lover with whom she has been corresponding by mail after he moved to the wilderness.
Feb. 4, 8pm: Tokyo Drifter
Avant-pop gangland drama starring Tetsuya Watari, who also performs the opening ballad, as a recently released yakuza trying to start again but immediately drawn back into underworld intrigue as his old associates attempt to knock him off.
Feb. 10, 7pm: Carmen from Kawachi
Surreal picaresque inspired by Bizet’s Carmen following a naive young woman’s flight to the city where she progresses through a series of exploitative jobs and disappointing relationships before regaining a sense of confidence and independence.
Feb. 11, 7pm: A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness
Suzuki’s comeback after being fired by Nikkatsu is a surreal media satire inspired by Ikki Kajiwara’s sports manga in which a fashion studio wanting to compete with a rival who’ve just made a top Russian gymnast their brand ambassador decide to create a homegrown star by grooming a promising golfer. Events take a darker turn when her newfound fame attracts the attentions of a psycho housewife stalker from the conservative upper middle class neighbourhood her bosses have chosen for her new home.
The Seijun Suzuki Centennial runs at Japan Society New York, Feb. 3 – 11. Tickets priced at $15 / $12 students & seniors, and $10 Japan Society Members are on sale now via the official website while you can also keep up with all the year-round events by following Japan Society Film on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.