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Pistol Opera (Japan, 2001) & A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness (Japan, 1977)

February 21, 2016 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


UCLA Film & Television Archive; the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution; Japan Foundation; and UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies present “Action, Anarchy, and Audacity: A Seijun Suzuki Retrospective.”

Pistol Opera (Japan, 2001)
Directed by Seijun Suzuki

When Satoru Ogura suggested director Seijun Suzuki make a sequel to his most notorious film, Branded to Kill (1967), the result was this eye-popping action extravaganza, which is less a sequel than a compact retrospective of Suzuki’s style and themes, updated with CGI effects and infused with the metaphysical concerns of the Taisho Trilogy. Makiko Esumi plays Stray Cat, the number three killer in her assassins’ guild. She battles her way to the top against characters such as Painless Surgeon, a cowboy who can feel no pain, and the mysterious number one killer “Hundred Eyes.” Along the way, Stray Cat detours into the land of the dead, where her victims lurk, and into the “Atrocity Exhibition,” where she battles foes amid grotesque paintings from throughout art history. Pistol Opera (2001) proves that, even in his 70s, Suzuki’s creativity was still firing on all cylinders.

Production: Shochiku. Producer: Satoru Ogura. Director: Seijun Suzuki. Screenwriter: Kazunori Ito, Takeo Kimura. Cinematographer: Yonezo Maeda. Production Design: Takeo Kimura. Editor: Akira Suzuki. Music: Kuzufumi Kodama. With: Makiko Esumi, Sayoko Yamaguchi, Hanae Kan, Mikijiro Hira, Masatoshi Nagase.

35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 112 min.

Followed by:

A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness (Hishu Monogatari) (Japan, 1977)
Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Nearly a decade after being fired by Nikkatsu Studios, Suzuki returned to the director’s chair with this titillating tale of a model who is groomed to become a professional golfer as a publicity stunt. When she turns out to be good at the sport, her success leads a deranged fan to hatch a blackmail scheme. “Riddled with the director’s wildly non-conformist use of non-contiguous edits, unhinged shot composition, and violent splashes of colour, crazed and chaotic and for too long buried in the sand bunkers of obscurity, this long-overlooked work simply cries out for revival.” —Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye.

Production: Shochiku. Director: Seijun Suzuki. Based on a story by Ikki Kajiwara. Screenwriter: Atsushi Yamatoya. Cinematographer: Masaru Mori. Editor: Akira Suzuki. Music: Keitaro Miho, Ichiro Tomita. With: Kyoko Enami, Yoshio Harada, Masumi Okada, Shûji Sano, Yoko Shiraki.

35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 93 min.

In-Person: Tom Vick, curator of film, Freer and Sackler Galleries, author of Time and Place are Nonsense: The Films of Seijun Suzuki.

FREE Admission for all UCLA students with valid I.D.!

More Info: UCLA Film & Television Archive Website


February 21, 2016
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Category:


Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024 United States