Directors in Focus: Seijun Suzuki
dir. Seijun Suzuki, Japan, 1965, 35mm, 87 min., Japanese w/ English subtitles
Set in the 1930s, Tattooed Life is the story of two brothers: Kenji, an art student, and Tetsu, who is working as a yakuza to help pay for Kenji’s tuition. When a hit job goes horribly wrong, the brothers flee. They end up finding work in a mine—and falling in love with the owner’s wife and daughter. But will Tetsu’s gang tattoos reveal the brothers’ secret past? The first film to earn Suzuki a warning about “going too far” from his Nikkatsu bosses, Tattooed Life contains one of his most iconic and audacious violations of film form: a final fight scene in which the floor suddenly and illogically disappears, and the action is filmed from below the actors’ feet.
Print courtesy of the Japan Foundation.