Branded to Kill

Branded to Kill

classified 18 S

Restored & Rediscovered


Please note: This was screened in July 2023

Seijun Suzuki
Jô Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Annu Mari, Kôji Nanbara
101 mins, Subtitled, 1967, Japan

Studio Nikkatsu made Branded to Kill as a standard B-movie, expecting an off-the-rack Yakuza thriller that would do solid business. And yet, they hired firebrand director Seijun Suzuki onto the job, when for years Suzuki had already been playing around with the B-projects he was being assigned, against the studio’s pressure on him to keep it sensible. Nikkatsu did not like what they saw, and promptly fired him.

The film Suzuki turned in took the broad outline of the plot - a hitman botches a job and becomes next on the list - and gave the protagonist (Joe Shishido) a boiling rice fetish and the femme fatale (Annu Muri) an obsession with dead butterflies.

The result is an acid-inflected noir overloaded with berserk stylistic touches, aided by Suzuki’s anything-goes ethos which allowed him to elevate many a tired script into a timeless cult classic. With the director’s centenary this year, now is as good a time as any to discover his wild brand of filmmaking!

A 4K digital restoration by Imagica Entertainment Media Services, Inc. undertook the digital film restoration. With thanks to Nikkatsu and Arrow Films. The original negative film (35mm) preserved at Nikkatsu Corporation was the source material. Physical repairs, film cleaning, 4K overscan, and digital restoration were carried out, followed by screen grading to complete the 4K digital restoration process.

× Close

Help us make our website work better for you

We use Google Analytics to gather information on how our website is used. This information helps us to make changes to our website that improve the usefulness and overall experience for our visitors. If you would like to help us to make continuous improvements to our website, please allow us to set "first-party" cookies (only readable by us) so that we can distinguish visitors and gain greater insights.

Allow cookies for analytics Deny cookies for analytics