films seen
average score
Japan - 93 years old
R.I.P. (1923 - 2017)
more info

Japanese maverick director with an inimitable oeuvre. An amiable man and a proponent of style over substance cinema. I'm not the biggest fan of his oldskool aesthetics, but required viewing for people with a taste for the weird.


Pistol Opera

Pisutoru Opera
2001 / 112m - Japan
Mystery, Crime
Pistol Opera poster

Pistol Opera is not the easiest of films. You have to accept that the story is a mere hook for some cinematic fun while Suzuki takes a little run with his audience.

Princess Raccoon

Operetta Tanuki Goten
2005 / 111m - Japan
Comedy, Fantasy, Musical
Princess Raccoon poster


1991 / 128m - Japan
Yumeji poster

One of Suzuki's better films. It's what more poetic than your average biography, leaning on beautiful imagery, a strong soundtrack and some trademark Suzuki weirdness. There's a little too much dialogue at times and the quality isn't entirely consistent, but there's plenty to like here, especially if you're a fan of Suzuki's more experimental side.

Capone Cries a Lot

Kapone Oi ni Naku
1985 / 130m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
Capone Cries a Lot poster

Ah, Seijun Suzuki. Not one of his most famous films, but don't ask me why. This one was a lot of fun, combining Suzuki's most experimental side with lots of winks, gags, and moments of frivolous lightness. It's not quite up there with his best work, but I sure enjoyed it immensely.

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Umiemon is a traditional Japanese singer/narrator. He isn't content to remain in Japan, and so he and his wife move to the US, where Umiemon hopes to make it big. The US isn't quite the land of dreams he had hoped it would be, but he commits to his mission and does everything to make himself known.

Suzuki pulls out all the stops. There's a strong visual playfulness, the plot is surprising and impossible to predict, and Suzuki has no trouble playing with people's expectations. It's not his most traditional narrative, but if you like Suzuki's lighter and more adventurous side, this is definitely worth checking out.

Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon

Rupan Sansei: Babiron no Ogon Densetsu
1985 / 100m - Japan
Comedy, Adventure - Animation
Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon poster

A typical Lupin adventure, made slightly more interesting by Seijun Suzuki's involvement and a very strong 70s vibe that runs through the film. It doesn't change too much about the core of Lupin though. Silly, over-the top action, a charming set of characters and one-dimensional bad guys. A fun diversion, but nothing more.

The Fang in the Hole

Ana no Kiba
1979 / 46m - Japan
Mystery, Crime
The Fang in the Hole poster

An interesting and short TV film/special from the hands of Seijun Suzuki. It's remarkable how much freedom he received to make this film. The production value is relatively low, but Suzuki was allowed to experiment with form as well as narrative here, which is when he's at his best.

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The film revolves around the shooting of Shida, a local criminal. After being trapped in a bar, a policeman shoots him right in the head. The autopsy can't find the bullet and the only explanation is that it ricocheted inside is head and came out the same way again. Not long after, the policeman who shot him is being haunted by the ghost of Shida.

The budget may have been limited, Suzuki made excellent use of the cinematography and the soundtrack to create a quirky and off-kilter atmosphere. The plot is fun, performances are decent, and the short runtime definitely plays in the film's favor. An entertaining entry in Suzuki's unpredictable oeuvre.

A Mummy's Love

Miira no Koi
1973 / 45m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
A Mummy's Love poster

Suzuki doing horror is quite new for me, but the man has a knack for the weird so it's actually a pretty good match. The film is short, even so quite a lot happens in a short span of time. The story is mysterious and strange rather than full-on horror, with a little comedy thrown in to balance things out. Surprisingly fun and entertaining.

Age of Nudity

Suppadaka no Nenrei
1959 / 54m - Japan
Age of Nudity poster

Size matters. Suzuki's Age of Nudity is a cute little film, but it would've been a lot less interesting at twice the length. 50 minutes is relatively short, but the story is pretty basic and the strict pacing makes sure that there are no lulls. A film like this doesn't need to be much longer.

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Sabu is a young boy growing up in a poor family. He wants to go to school, but his parents lack the money. So he joins a gang of rascals who work together to get some bucks together. Not everything they do is legit, but they try to stay clear of true criminal behavior. Until one of them steals cash from the Yakuza.

The film has some pleasant action scenes, the performances are decent enough and there's enough variation to keep the 50 minutes engaging. Other than that, it's noticeably a film of a director still finding his signature style. Not Suzuki's greatest work, but it was quite a bit better that I'd expected it to be.

Heat-Haze Theatre

1981 / 139m - Japan
Romance, Mystery
Heat-Haze Theatre poster

Much like Zigeunerweisen, this is a Suzuki film that holds a lot of potential, but is way too long and gets a bit sluggish after a while. If Suzuki had managed to cut this back to 90-100 minutes it would've been a much better film, now it took me quite a bit of effort and stamina to reach the end.

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That's not to say nothing interesting happens. Suzuki remains his old self and quirky, weird and goofy ideas are littered throughout the film. The biggest problem is the moments in between, the sometimes endless conversations and theater performances that seem to suck much of the energy out of Heat-haze Theatre.

The cinematography is interesting, often very colorful and well-framed. The soundtrack is a bit too dependent on classic Japanese songs and the plot a bit too sparse to fill 140 minutes, but at least Suzuki kept it interesting until the end. It's just a shame that there are too many generic intermissions.

The Claws of the Divine Beast

Chin Shun-shin no 'Shinju no Tsume'
1980 / 45m - Japan
The Claws of the Divine Beast poster

A short TV project by Seijun Suzuki. Don't expect to see any of his trademark quirks here, this is a pretty straightforward detective story that thrives on intrigue and a little twist at the end. I didn't get bored or annoyed watching this, at the same time, it's all very basic and by the numbers. It's hardly a highlight of Suzuki's long and memorable career.

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When two old business partners quarrel about money, things are about to heat up. Unable to pay back his loan, one of the men offers the other a priceless artifact as collateral. The other man doesn't accept but ends up dead not much later. The culprit seems obvious, but the detective assigned to the case finds some inconsistencies and decides to dig a little deeper.

45 minutes is pretty short, so you won't have to worry about the pacing too much. The twist is decent enough too, but nothing out of the ordinary. The presentation can't hide the film's TV roots and is pretty unimpressive, certainly for Suzuki's standards, but that was only to be expected. This was pleasant enough filler, just nothing memorable.

Youth of the Beast

Yajû no Seishun
1963 / 92m - Japan
Action, Crime
Youth of the Beast poster

An early Suzuki that show signs of a budding director. The film is little more than a typical Yakuza tale, but a more outspoken set design, decent use of color and the presence of Jô Shishido give the film some extra flair. It's not a bad effort, but a little too basic to be engaging, especially when comparing it to Suzuki's later films.

Take Aim at the Police Van

'Jûsangô Taihisen' Yori: Sono Gosôsha o Nerae
1960 / 79m - Japan
Mystery, Crime
Take Aim at the Police Van poster

One of the early Suzuki films. It took Suzuki a while to truly develop his kooky signature style, though shimmers of it are already visible here. For the most part though, Take Aim at the Police Van is just a stylish little noir where the setup proves more interesting than the way everything pans out.

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Tamon is a security guard tasked with the protection of two prisoners while they're being transported. A sniper gets the better of him though and kills the prisoners. Tamon is fired from his job, but can't deal with the fact that the case was never cleared up. With nothing else to do, he decides to go out and investigate himself.

The stylish black and white cinematography is the clear highlight of this film. Performances are decent but nothing special, the soundtrack doesn't add much and the plot is rather mediocre. It's a good thing the film is short, so there's hardly any time for it to start dragging.

Underworld Beauty

Ankokugai no Bijo
1958 / 87m - Japan
Action, Crime
Underworld Beauty poster


1980 / 144m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Zigeunerweisen poster

A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness

Hishu Monogatari
1977 / 93m - Japan
A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness poster

Seijun Suzuki's comeback film. After 10 years of silence, Suzuki returned to the world of cinema, though somewhat haphazardly. A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness contains vague traces of Suzuki's trademark style, but it's no doubt one of the oddest entries in his oeuvre (mostly because it isn't very odd at all).

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The plot revolves around Reiko, who stands on the verge of becoming a great golf player. The agency that represents her has different plans for Reiko though, and tries to sell her off as a model. Reiko decides to play along, but soon finds herself losing her own sense of identity as her agency keeps pushing her to become something she is not.

Performances are quite mediocre and the film exudes a 70s vibe (not really a positive in my book). Apart from some interestingly edited scenes and a quirky soundtrack, Suzuki's signature is mostly absent and the film is actually pretty straightforward. The story isn't really that interesting though, making this a somewhat lackluster film in Suzuki's oeuvre. For completists only.

Branded to Kill

Koroshi no Rakuin
1967 / 91m - Japan
Branded to Kill poster

Tokyo Drifter

Tôkyô Nagaremono
1966 / 82m - Japan
Action, Crime
Tokyo Drifter poster

Life of a Tattooed Man

Irezumi Ichidai
1965 / 87m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Life of a Tattooed Man poster

Cherry Blossoms in Spring

Seijun Sakura Hensou
1983 / 80m - Japan
Cherry Blossoms in Spring poster

I felt bad for Suzuki watching this film. I'm not his biggest fan and he has made his share of misfires, but even then his skills and vision have always been unmistakable. This TV film really is below Suzuki's standards. There are traces of his usual quirkiness here, but the execution is simply atrocious.

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The premise is pretty bare bones. A man is driving through Japan, chasing the cherry blossoms. On his trip he runs into a mysterious blind woman, who joins him on his trip. Add some folklore and the usual Suzuki oddness and you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this one.

Suzuki clearly didn't have the budget to execute, so maybe he shouldn't even have tried. The film has potential and if you look through the cheap execution that you can see glimpses of what this could've been, but that never came to be and what remains is a real stinker of a film. Poor Suzuki.