After months of speculation, Fantastic Fest has officially announced that Takashi Miike’s most recent film, 13 Assassins will be the closing night film to the festival. This announcement solidifies my jealousy of Andy’s venture to Austin even more. I wonder if there is room in his suitcase? Anyway … 13 Assassins is Miikes’s take on the classic samurai film in the vein of Akira Kurosawa. The film follows an assassin and his team of samurai on a suicide mission to take out an evil Lord. For many (like myself), who are aware just how amazing Takashi Miike is, this news will seem pretty cool. For those who may not be as familiar with the bizarre and diverse film career of this Japanese director, read on.
Takashi Miike may be one of the hardest working directors working in cinema today. From 2000 to 2010, the director has made more than fifty movies and T.V. movies. What is even more bizarre about the reserved director is his choice of films. Eccentric, weird, gross, and unpredictable are just a few words that come to mind when thinking about the Japanese director’s films. Audition, a story about an obsessive relationship gone painfully wrong, was the film that catapulted the director to notoriety in the States. Since then, the director has tackled straight-up “yakuza” films with the Dead or Alive trilogy and The City of Lost Souls, the power and danger of the media with Visitor Q, the wacky hijinks of a family in the zombie -musical The Happiness of the Katakuris, the day to day life of a superhero in Zebraman, and what many consider one of the goriest movies ever made … Ichi The Killer. If you haven’t seen anything by the now famous Takashi Miike, I highly recommend almost anything this highly stylistic director puts out. The director has even made fans of Eli Roth, Guillermo Del Toro, and Quentin Tarantino! Roth included the director in Hostel as well as co-hosted with Del Toro an interview with Miike on the DVD for Gozu. Tarantino was included as an actor in Miike’s ode to “spaghetti westerns,” Sukiyaki Western Django. That is quite an elite group to be rubbing elbows with. For a festival that is grounded in cult, horror, and bizarre movies, I see no better filmmaker to close Fantastic Fest than Takashi Miike.