Suzuki Seijun 100
Screening Dates
  • August 27, 2023 3:30
35mm Print

Had he focused his anarchic impulses into a laser beam, [Suzuki’s] visions of imploding film and order might have rivaled Oshima’s. But then we wouldn’t have the delirium of Kagero-za.”

Fernando F. Croce, MUBI Notebook

In Suzuki Seijun’s Taisho trio, the trees can be so dazzling that it’s hard to glimpse the forest’s shape, or that there even is one. The most vertiginous and discontinuous of the three, Kagero-za might also be the masterstroke of the cycle—no one will forget its epiphanic, purgatorial vision. Yet there is a shape to this vision. The opening scene presents wandering playwright Matsuzaki (Matsuda Yusaku) with alkekengi, cherries that contain, or at least symbolize, the souls of the dead, and which links his fate with the said-to-be-married Shinako (Okusu Michiyo). Together, they are the target of a plot from upper-class, shotgun-toting Tamawaki (Nakamura Katsuo): while he watches, the two of them are compelled to play out roles in a cyclical game of attraction—one that is doomed to culminate in double suicide. Suzuki daringly eschews a linear progression; each encounter between the two exists as an out-of-time reconfiguration of locations, parries, and supernatural effects.

In Japanese with English subtitles

At [its] best, achieves something of the concrete yet mysterious feel of a Parajanov tableau.”

Alexander Jacoby, Sight and Sound
Supported by
Japan Foundation