‘Branded To Kill’ Director Seijun Suzuki Dies at 93

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.

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