Suzuki Seijun 100
Screening Dates
  • September 3, 2023 3:30

Has the visual intensity of a mirage and the narrative ambiguity of a [cryptic] puzzle … Yumeji finds Suzuki still reinventing himself.”

Tony Rayns

Yumeji Takehisa, the enormously influential outside-the-system painter and illustrator, decidedly does not get the standard biopic treatment in Suzuki Seijun’s last look at the Taisho era. Yumeji, when he wasn’t embroiled in scandal or facing charges of vulgarity, was incredibly prolific—his work could be seen in daily papers, and is today collected in six art museums dedicated to his legacy in Japan. But Suzuki fashions his life as a kaleidoscope that only locks into focus to regard his completion of a masterpiece that will be lost to time. Duels, spectres, and other challenges to Yumeji’s ego are matched by Suzuki’s grandest flourishes as an image-maker—including a chase sequence arguably more astonishing than in any of his crime pictures. Suzuki sees the art of the Taisho period as hauntingly contained within a strict frame, which we can endlessly rove through, but never fully comprehend. Yumejis theme, by Umebayashi Shigeru, was memorably repurposed for Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love.

Suzuki seizes on febrile, impossible visions to construct [the] film, just as Yumeji wrests the haunting picture of the deity out of his dream world and sets it down on canvas.”

Sean Rogers, Cinema Scope