Directors in Focus: Seijun Suzuki
Youth of the Beast
dir. Seijun Suzuki, Japan, 1963, 35mm, 91 min., b/w, Japanese w/ English subtitles
Suzuki himself claims that 1963 was the year when he truly came into his own, and Youth of the Beast is one of his breakthroughs. In his second collaboration with the director, Jo Shishido rampages through the movie, playing a disgraced ex-cop pitting two yakuza gangs against each other to avenge the death of a fellow officer. As the double and triple crosses mount, Suzuki fills the frame with lurid colors, striking compositions, and boldly theatrical effects that signal a director breaking away from genre material to forge a pulp art form all his own.
Introduced by Tom Vick - Curator of Film, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution
Print courtesy of the Japan Foundation.