Suzuki Seijun 100
Screening Dates
  • August 20, 2023 3:30

A beautiful, eerie, and erotic tale [that] blurs the line between life and death … A major work.”

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Emerging from a decade-plus exile from feature filmmaking, Suzuki Seijun held nothing back in three enigmatic, phantasmagoric movies set in the Taisho era, the culturally rich period of his childhood. Freely adapted from the stories of Uchida Hyakken, Zigeunerweisen, in its simplest shape, is a decade-spanning love triangle of two men, former university colleagues, and one woman, a geisha. Doppelgängers, disease, and riddles aren’t just complications but the very fuel of the performances, which position each character as a ghost of desire for another. Early English-language reviewers, unfamiliar with kabuki conventions, called it impenetrable,” but Suzuki provides a frame of bawdy commentary via a linked trio of music performers. The tonal shifts are sudden—cruel, even—yet necessary to achieve the film’s ultimate design: a forward-vaulting play of memory, dream, and embedded narration haunted by war and its shattering epochal change around the corner.

In Japanese with English subtitles

Best Film of the Year (1981)
Kinema Junpo

A film of twilit mahogany sitting rooms that slowly ratchets up the tension to an unnerving climax … [Suzuki] never returned to the frenzied, electrified creative pace of his mid-’60s creative outburst—but neither would he be tamed.”

Nick Pinkerton, Artforum

Slides from mundane realism to unnerving dream logic, sometimes within the same shot, forcing the audience to surrender to the disintegrating narrative and the ruptures of sexual paranoia.”

Jake Cole, Slant Magazine