Takashi Miike Series at Film Society of Lincoln Center
From March 17 – 20 The Film Society of Lincoln Center will present a film series entitled “Shinjuku Outlaw: 13 from Takashi Miike.” The Japanese director, Miike, first gained the attention of American audiences in 2001 with his films “Audition” and “Ichi the Killer,” trumpeting the arrival of “Asian Extreme” sex and violence crammed titles. Be warned, this series is not for everyone.
Miike himself will be in attendance for many of the screenings to provide introductions and post screening Q&As. Opening night, March 17, will feature a sneak preview of Miike latest film, “13 Assassins,” followed by a reception.
I attended a press screening of “13 Assassins.” The press notes described the film as “a faithful sword-slashing remake of the 1963 samurai-seige classic.”
The story begins with a character committing harikari, followed by a landslide of exposition. Characters flit in and out while the film smash cuts across multiple locations to set up its story. Like an airplane finally reaching its cruising altitude, “13 Assassins” soon levels off and settles into comfortable genre territory. Simply put there is a bad guy, Lord Maritsugu, who the titular band wants to kill, despite the fact that he is politically well connected.
There is lots of explanation about honor and the way of the samurai, but basically it is good guys verses bad guys. Miike keeps the proceedings moving at a good clip with innovative fight scenes: sword fights, decapitations, dismemberment, multiple deaths by bow and arrow, lots of blood, codes of honor and a sadistic bad guy we just love to hate.
The series will provide a cross section of the prolific director’s filmography of some 80 films. Titles will include Miike’s major hits plus rarities never before screened in New York.
For more information on the series go to www.filmlinc.com.