June 21-26,  2002

American Cinematheque Presents...

Revenge of the Japanese Outlaw Masters

Sponsored by the Japan Foundation

Saturday, June 22: Booksigning with Author Patrick Macias! TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion

Series Compiled by  Dennis Bartok and Chris D. Our enormous thanks to David Shultz with Vitagraph Films for his tremendous assistance with this series!.

Special Thanks to: Special Thank to: Satoko Ishida/SHOCHIKU CO.; Hiromi Aihara/BEWIZ PROD.; Yasue Nobusawa/NIKKATSU FILMS; Shinji Sakoda/PONY CANYON Naoko Watanabe/JAPAN FOUNDATION – Los Angeles; Akiko Funatsu; May Yip/EMG.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $8 general admission unless noted otherwise.

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Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

For the Cinematheque’s 4th Japanese Outlaw Masters Series, we’re very excited to be including new films from established masters Seijun Suzuki (PISTOL OPERA), Kihachi Okamoto (VENGEANCE FOR SALE), and Kon Ichikawa (DORA HEITA), as well as the latest from enfant terrible Takashi Miike, director of AUDITION. We’ve also scheduled two very rare 1960’s gems by maestro Kinji Fukasaku, BLACK ROSE MANSION and IF YOU WERE YOUNG, which will soon be released on DVD by American Cinematheque and Vitagraph Films, as well as an encore presentation of two of our most popular titles from our 2nd series, FEMALE CONVICT "SCORPION" – JAILHOUSE 41 and BLACK TIGHT KILLERS.

We’re also pleased to welcome acclaimed filmmaker Minoru Matsui, who will be here in person with JAPANESE DEVILS, his groundbreaking documentary about military atrocities in Manchuria during WWII.

 

Friday, June 21 – 7:00 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

New from Seijun Suzuki – L.A. Premiere!!

PISTOL OPERA, 2001, Shochiku, 112 min. Seijun Suzuki’s much-anticipated sequel to his 1967 classic BRANDED TO KILL is even more shocking than the original: an indescribably bizarre – and startlingly beautiful – anti-thriller about gorgeous No. 3 killer Stray Cat (Makiko Esumi) and her pursuit of enigmatic, unseen No. 1 killer Hundred Eyes. Suzuki throws masked lesbians, dying goldfish, masturbation scenes and a bulldozer filled with red poppy blossoms into his ultra-stylized, nearly stream-of-consciousness narrative. As with his ultra-subversive 1980’s films ZIGEUNERWEISEN and HEAT SHIMMER THEATRE, Suzuki pushes the viewer to the limit and beyond with PISTOL OPERA. The heroine’s motto could serve just as well for the director himself: "Dogs follow masters, but I’m a stray cat!!" With Sayoko Yamaguchi, Masatoshi Nagase, Mikijiro Hira

 

Friday, June 21 – 9:30 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

Kinji Fukasaku Double-Feature – U.S. Premiere!!

BLACK ROSE MANSION (KURO BARA NO YAKATA) 1969, Vitagraph Films/American Cinematheque Presents, 90 min. Dir. Kinji Fukasaku. Famous drag-star/singer Akihiro Maruyama, fresh from success in Fukasaku’s baroquely psychedelic BLACK LIZARD, returns in this feverishly perverse, campy follow up -- never before screened in the U.S.! Wealthy Eitaro Ozawa installs songbird "Black Rose" (Maruyama) in his elegant private men’s club to bolster business -- but he gets more than he bargains for when she attracts scores of homicidal past lovers, and not only he but his ne’er-do-well son (Masakazu Tamura) end up falling for the femme fatale.

 

IF YOU WERE YOUNG (KIMI GA WAKAMONO NARA) 1970, Vitagraph Films/American Cinematheque Presents, 89 min. A closely-knit group of poor young men pool their resources to buy a truck, but are soon torn apart in a chaos of class turmoil and youthful indiscretion in one of director Kinji Fukasasku’s (BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR & HUMANITY) grittiest and most hardhitting portraits of post-war Japanese society. One of the boys perishes in a violent student demonstration, another is arrested for robbery, and a third gets married. The remaining two (Tetsuo Ishidate and Gin Maeda) try to persevere, but nightmarish complications set in when their jailed comrade escapes from prison. With Ryunosuke Minegishi.

 

Saturday, June 22: Booksigning with Author Patrick Macias! TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion (published by Cadence Books, an imprint of Viz Communications, Inc.) On sale for $19.95 US + tax

 

Saturday, June 22 – 5:00 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

New from Takashi Miike – L.A. Premiere!!

ICHI THE KILLER (KOROSHI YA ICHI) 2001, EMG, 126 min. Dir. Takashi Miike. Adapted from an ultra-popular manga comic banned in several Japanese prefectures, ICHI is one of the funniest, most horrific, blood-drenched yakuza thrillers ever made (and director Miike’s most successful film in Japan to date.) Nao Omori is Ichi, an immature crybaby who dons a black rubber superhero suit and hatchet blade boots to do the bidding of Shinya Tsukamoto (director of the TETSUO: IRON MAN), an unassuming mastermind bent on rending the fabric of Shinjuku’s yakuza and destroying bleach-blonde S&M freak/mobster Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano). Be forewarned, Ichi is an equal-oppurtunity assassin, and both men and women sacrifice body parts when they cross his path! Please Note that ICHI THE KILLER contains scenes of extremely graphic violence. No One Under 18 Will Be Admitted To This Screening.

 

Saturday, June 22 – 8:00 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

Double Feature:

FEMALE CONVICT "SCORPION" – JAILHOUSE 41 (JOSHU SASORI – DAI 41 ZAKKYOBO), 1972, Vitagraph Films/American Cinematheque Presents, 93 min. Dir. Shunya Ito. The break-out hit of our 2nd Outlaw Series is back -- a phenomenal surrealistic exploitation flick with action goddess Meiko Kaji (LADY SNOWBLOOD) as the legendary inmate Scorpion, breaking out of stir with fellow prisoners. They traverse a desolate blasted landscape – a village half-buried in volcanic ash, melancholic autumnal woods and barren mountains of stone – all the time retaliating against pursuing guards and bestial, vacationing salarymen. A transcendental, exhilirating masterpiece of violent 1970’s cinema, JAILHOUSE 41 is second in the manga-adapted JOSHU SASORI film series. Buy This Film!

BLACK TIGHT KILLERS (ORE NI SAWARU TO ABUNAIZE), 1966, Vitagraph Films/American Cinematheque Presents, 87 min. "Josie and the Pussycats" meets AUSTIN POWERS in this wild tongue-in-cheek gangster/spy spoof starring Akira Kobayashi as a combat photographer trying to rescue stewardess girlfriend Chieko Matsubara from an alliance of American mobsters and Japanese yakuza. He’s aided by a strange band of girl assassins who use razor-sharp 45 rpm records as weapons and wads of bubble-gum to blind pursuers. This first film from one of Nikkatsu’s most talented late-sixties directors, Yasuharu Hasebe, shows a definite Seijun Suzuki influence. A Pop-Art classic! Buy This Film!

 

Sunday, June 23 – 5:00 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

Double-Feature – New Films from Okamoto and Ichikawa!!

VENGEANCE FOR SALE (SUKEDACHIYA SUKEROKU), 2001, Nikkatsu/Pony Canyon, 88 min. Legendary Toho action director Kihachi Okamoto (SWORD OF DOOM) returns to top form with his finest film in over two decades, a wry period fable about Sukeroku the Helper, who "believes himself a cool rambling gambler" – but is in reality a comically-deluded bumpkin who "assists" people seeking vengeance for various grievances. When Sukeroku returns to his home village, he unknowingly crosses paths with his father, played by the great Tatsuya Nakadai – and finds his true worth sorely tested when the father is brutally murdered by a callous government official. With Hiroyuki Sanada, Kyoka Suzuki.

DORA HEITA, 2000, Nikkatsu, 111 min. Dir. Kon Ichikawa. In 1969, directors Akira Kurosawa, Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi and Keisuke Kinoshita formed a company called Club Of The Four Knights to produce quality films. One of their first collaborations was a script (unproduced at the time) about a canny samurai magistrate using his gift of gab and conman wiles to lull the outlaws in his corrupt town into a false sense of security, all the better to later dispatch the lot of them. Even though the rest of Ichikawa’s partners are no longer with us, the surviving maestro finally secured financing, and the result is this supremely entertaining chanbara featuring popular box-office star Koji Yakusho (CURE, THE EEL) as the streetwise official. With Yuko Asano, Bunta Sugawara.

 

Tuesday, June 25 – 7:15 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

Director Minoru Matsui In Person!

JAPANESE DEVILS (RIBEN GUIZI), 2000, 160 min. Dir. Minoru Matsui. Subtitled "Confessions of Imperial Army Soldiers From Japan’s War Against China," JAPANESE DEVILS is a sober, unfliching documentary in the vein of Ophul’s THE SORROW AND THE PITY, examining the atrocities committed by Japanese troops against Chinese civilians during the invasion of Manchuria in the 1930’s. Director Matsui tracked down a number of aging former Japanese soldiers, who describe in pitiless, graphic detail the systematic genocide in Manchuria. A courageous and compelling indictment of the militaristic mindset that led soldiers to consider their victims as somehow "less than human." Discussion following with director Minoru Matsui (schedule permitting).

 

Wednesday, June 26 – 7:00 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

PISTOL OPERA, 2001, Shochiku, 112 min. Dir. Seijun Suzuki. [See 6/21 for description.]

 

Wednesday, June 26 – 9:30 PM

OUTLAW MASTERS

New from Takashi Miike!

THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, 2001, Shochiku, 113 min. A mind-bending change of pace for ultra-prolific, enfant terrible director Takashi Miike (AUDITION, DEAD OR ALIVE), HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS is a cheerfully grotesque, anything goes musical comedy about a quaint family-run inn in the Japanese mountains, where all the guests seem to die in bizarre fashion! Miike throws some hilariously surreal claymation animation into the mix, along with a delusional secret agent who thinks he’s an illegitimate relation of the British Royal Family ("Diana! If only I was there!"), a well-endowed sumo wrestler and his underage girlfriend, and a whole host of karaoke-style musical numbers inspired by 1970’s Japanese TV shows. With Kenji Sawada, Keiko Matsuzaka, Tetsura Tanba.