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Tokyo Drifter (1966)

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I’ll declare myself right away, at the risk of making some enemies: Tokyo Drifter is what Cowboy Bebop aspires to be. Since I’m in Adelaide, a safe distance from Deni’s wrath, I’ll continue.

First, the hero, Tetsu the Phoenix: lordy lordy, what a man. Powder blue suit, white buckskin shoes, and the ultra-cool demeanour of one who knows he’s got the entire female population in the palm of his hand and doesn’t care. A matinee idol with the high cheekbones, … (read more)

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Branded To Kill (1967)

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Seijun Suzuki’s recent movies are beautiful to look at but make little narrative sense and seem to lack formal unity. By their end, films like Pistol Opera tend to lose the viewer in a mish-mash of colour, camera movement and choppy editing, with character, plot and theme long since discarded. If the style was more sophisticated, in the sense that a formal system was revealed up front and sustained throughout, there’d be fewer issues with the jettisoning of story elements. … (read more)

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Pistol Opera (2001)

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I’ve been procrastinating on this review for the simple reason that I was, as I left the cinema, feeling just a little confused. You see, I really enjoyed this film, but I’m not entirely sure I understood it. Having seen Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill (God Bless SBS) to which Pistol Opera is a sort of modernized sequel, and not actually having seen any other Suzuki films, I suppose I was expecting something similar. While some of the cinematic and … (read more)

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Princess Raccoon (2005)

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Whoa. Weird.

Seijun Suzuki’s Princess Raccoon is frequently wonderful, frequently irritating, always gorgeous to look at and mostly pretty difficult to follow. Drawing upon the rich Japanese fields of kabuki plays and tanuki folklore, veteran director Suzuki has sought to create an absurd, colourful funhouse of a musical, and has mostly succeeded.

The mythical tanuki is a shapeshifting, fun-loving and mischievous raccoon dog, and we are informed at the movie’s opening that love between a human and a tanuki is … (read more)

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