Branded to Kill
Branded to Kill is a 1967 Japanese yakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara and Annu Mari. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer.
About Branded to Kill in brief
Branded to Kill is a 1967 Japanese yakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara and Annu Mari. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer, whose methods threaten his sanity as much as his life. The film grew a strong following, which expanded overseas in the 1980s, and has established itself as a cult classic. Film critics and enthusiasts now regard it as an absurdist masterpiece. It has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, John Woo, Chan-wook Park and Quentin Tarantino, and composer John Zorn. It was a commercial and critical disappointment and Suzuki was ostensibly fired for making movies that make no sense and no money. He was blacklisted and did not make another feature film for 10 years but became a counterculture hero. Thirty-four years later, Suzuki filmed Pistol Opera with Nikkatsu, a loose sequel to the former. The company has also hosted two major retrospectives spotlighting his career. The film was a low budget, production line number for theNikkatsu Company, originally released in a double bill with Shōgorō Nishimura’s Burning Nature. The studio was unhappy with the original script and called in Suzuki to rewrite and direct it at the last minute.
He came up with many of his ideas the night before or on the set while filming, and welcomed ideas from his collaborators. He gave the film a satirical, anarchic and visually eclectic bent which the studio had previously warned him away from. After alternating attempts to seduce her and kill each other, she promises him to kill her, but he finds he cannot kill her as he has fallen in love in a state of confusion. Hanada and Kasuga are hired to escort a client from Sagami Beach to Nagano. After the meeting, Yabuhara covertly seduces Hanada’s wife, Mami, and they are met by Kasuga, a formerly ranked hitman turned taxi driver. They dispose of the body, then meet the client and proceed towards their destination. En route Hanada spots an ambush, he dispatches a number of gunmen while Kasuga panics and flails about in hysterics. At a second ambush, Hanada kills more gunmen and sets Sakura, the second-ranked hitman, on fire by him. At the client’s home, he has rough sex with his wife, fueled by his obsession with sniffing boiling rice. He then goes on to kill four men, the first three being a customs officer, an ocularist and a jewellery dealer, and escapes on an advertising balloon. During the job, a butterfly lands on the door of the barrel of the door to kill an innocent bystander, causing him to miss his target.