BRANDED TO KILL
KOROSHI NO RAKUIN
1967, Janus Films, 91 min, Japan, Dir: Seijun Suzuki

When Japanese New Wave bad boy Seijun Suzuki delivered this brutal, hilarious and visually inspired masterpiece to the executives at his studio, he was promptly fired. BRANDED TO KILL tells the ecstatically bent story of a yakuza assassin with a fetish for sniffing steamed rice (the chipmunk-cheeked superstar Joe Shishido) who botches a job and ends up a target himself. This is Suzuki at his most extreme - the flabbergasting pinnacle of his 1960s pop-art aesthetic.


MASSACRE GUN
MINAGOROSHI NO KENJÛ
1967, Nikkatsu, 89 min, Japan, Dir: Yasuharu Hasebe

This rarely screened crime drama from director Yasuharu Hasebe features noir-ish B&W cinematography, distinctive set design and a number of bravura action sequences. Three brothers (Joe Shishido, Tatsuya Fuji and Jirô Okazaki) go to war with their former gang after the youngest is beaten up and their nightclub is trashed. An old friend remains on the other side – but no one is safe from the volley of bullets as each faction tries to settle the score. In Japanese with English subtitles.


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