Friday, August 24, 2012
ACF 1600: Happy Birthday Wishes to Japanese Film Director Takashi Miike!
Prolific Japanese film director Takashi Miike was born in the town of Yao near Osaka, Japan on August 24th, 1960. His filmography at IMDb lists 88 movies from 1991 to the present. Many of his early films were made for the direct-to-video market, which is, or at least was, respectable in Japan, unlike here in the U.S. where its reputation has always been rather disreputable.
The first film directed by Miike that I saw (years and year ago on a VHS tape from Tokyo Shock!) was Fudoh: The New Generation (1996), but I didn't really note his name until I saw Ichi the Killer (2001) when it screened at the Focus on New Japanese Cinema film series at the Walter Reade Theater of the Society of Lincoln Center early in 2002. Ichi totally blew me away, as I wrote in my review in Asian Cult Cinema magazine, Issue 35 (2nd Quarter 2002).
Since then I've seen many other films by Miike. Among my favorites are Audition and Dead or Alive (both 1999). While initially known for hard-hitting adult fare, Miike has recently branched out, producing such child-friendly films as Zebraman (2004) and Ninja Kids!!! (2011).
Most impressively, he's done terrific new versions of two classic Japanese films: 13 Assassins (2010), based on Eiichi Kudo's The Thirteen Assassins (1963), and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011), based on Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962).
So happy 52nd birthday, director Miike. Keep 'em comin'!