Offbeat Japanese director Seijun Suzuki has died. Variety today brings the news that the influential filmmaker passed away on February 13 at age 93.
Largely a director of yakuza B-movies, Suzuki is most famous for Branded To Kill, his avant-garde 1967 film about a hitman botching a job and also getting aroused by the smell of cooking rice. The movie was at the time considered enough of a failure to get Suzuki fired from the Nikkatsu Company—and later blacklisted for a decade after he sued the studio for wrongful termination. It has since gained a cult following abroad thanks in part to a prestigious Criterion release and name-drops from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, and Wong Kar-wai.
Though Suzuki hadn’t directed in over a decade, it seems that’s how he wanted it. He’s quoted as having told a reporter, “It’s better to die like an ordinary person… dying on the job just causes problems for those around you.” A pragmatist until the end.