22:25 22 February 2017
Japanese film director Seijun Suzuki dies at 93
TOKYO, Feb. 22, Kyodo
Award-winning film director Seijun Suzuki died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a Tokyo hospital on Feb. 13, film company Nikkatsu Corp. said Wednesday. He was 93.
Suzuki's career spanned over half a century and his yakuza B movies laden with stylish action, violence and humor apparently influenced acclaimed directors such as Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, Takeshi Kitano, and Wong Kar-wai.
His film "Zigeunerweisen" released in 1980 earned an honorable mention from the international jury at the Berlin International Film Festival and won Japan Academy Film Prizes, including best film and best director.
After making his directorial debut in 1956, the native of Tokyo worked for major Japanese film studio Nikkatsu and directed "The Born Fighter," reflecting his experience as a youth, and "Tokyo Drifter."
However, Suzuki clashed with the studio's management over the unconventional style of his movies and was fired by Nikkatsu after directing "Branded to Kill," released in 1967.
The studio slammed him as a director who makes "nonsensical, difficult-to-understand movies."
Backed by the Directors Guild of Japan and other movie industry organizations, Suzuki filed a lawsuit against Nikkatsu and was shunned by the industry for a decade, during which he only directed television dramas and ads.
The two parties eventually settled the case.
"We express our deepest condolences together with our sincere gratitude and respect for his lifelong work," Nikkatsu said in a statement released Wednesday.
Suzuki was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1990.
He last directed "Operetta Tanuki Goten" (Princess Raccoon) in 2005, appearing in films after that.
His other notable works include "Gate of Flesh," "Kagero-za," and "Yumeji."