Newswire: R.I.P. Seijun Suzuki, Japanese cinema iconoclast and director of Branded To Kill

Seijun Suzuki, the maverick Japanese director whose experimental, jazz-influenced B-movies influenced filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, Wong Kar-wai, and Takeshi Kitano, has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Suzuki died on February 13 at a Tokyo hospital, but the announcement was made by Nikkatsu—the studio that famously fired him back in 1967—last night. The cause of death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 93.

After serving in the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII and failing to pass the University of Tokyo entrance exam, Suzuki began his career at the Shochiku Company as an assistant director in 1948. He was soon lured away to a job at Nikkatsu Studios, which re-opened in 1954 after shuttering during the war. At the time, the Japanese film industry operated under a strictly hierarchical studio system, and Suzuki quickly worked his way up through the ranks, directing his first film, Victory …

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