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Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Japan 1967 91 mins.

This fractured film noir is the final provocation that got Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu Studios, simultaneously making him a counterculture hero and putting him out of work for a decade. An anarchic send-up of B movie clichés, it stars Jo Shishido as an assassin who gets turned on by the smell of cooking rice, and whose failed attempt to kill a victim (a butterfly lands on his gun) turns him into a target himself. Perhaps Suzuki’s most famous film, it has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Park Chan-wook, and John Woo, as well as the composer John Zorn, who called it “a cinematic masterpiece that transcends its genre.” Intended for mature audiences. (Japanese with English subtitles)

Read Peter Bradshaw’s review of Branded to Kill for The Guardian (7/24/2014)