The inner workings of the human psyche are featured in this study of relationships between different leading characters. The action weaves around playwright Matsuzaki — who is sleeping with Shinako, a married woman — and his other “lover,” a fairly corporeal spirit. —Iotis Erlewine
Seijun Suzuki (鈴木 清順, Suzuki Seijun?), born Seitaro Suzuki (鈴木 清太郎 Suzuki Seitarō) on May 24, 1923, is a Japanese filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter. His films are renowned by film enthusiasts worldwide for their jarring visual style, irreverent humour, nihilistic cool and entertainment-over-logic sensibility. He made 40 predominately B-movies for the Nikkatsu Company between 1956 and 1967, working most prolifically in the yakuza genre. His increasingly surreal style began to draw the ire of the studio in 1963 and culminated in his ultimate dismissal for what is now regarded his magnum opus, Branded to Kill (1967), starring notable collaborator Joe Shishido. Suzuki successfully sued the studio for wrongful dismissal but was blacklisted for 10 years. As an independent filmmaker he won critical acclaim and a Japanese Academy Award for his Taishō Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).
His films remained widely unknown outside of Japan until a series… read more
The second part of the Taisho Trilogy is even more ravishing, beautiful, and daring than the first. Suzuki doesn't hold anything back here, and it makes for one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Few movies have left me really scratching my head and wondering what the hell it was all about. Still, like the last part, this did not need to be 2.5 hours. The middle is incredibly tedious, and while the ending was brilliant, I was just getting antsy. This was obviously a very personal film for Suzuki, but it's personal to a fault. At times I found myself hoping for some yakuza to show up and start a shoot-out with some hot jazz playing in the background. Barring my haven't yet seen the last part of the trilogy, Pistol Opera was the movie where he finally found the balance between entertainment and full on personal expression. It's just a shame he's only made one movie since.