Both films in this series are Free for Fantastic Fest 2011 Badgeholders (any badge). Special thanks to The Criterion Collection and Janus Films for making these 35mm screenings possible.
THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI
1964, D. Hideo Gosha, 105 min, 35mm
When we think of samurai cinema many of us only know the (admittedly) brilliant films of Akira Kurosawa, but if we only examine these high-art films, we are missing out on the vitality of the genre as a whole. It’s a little like judging all westerns by BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. One director who made superior mainstream, commercially viable chanbara (swordplay) films was Hideo Gosha. Recently Japanese director Takeshi Miike has sung his praises and identified him as a great influence on his own work. THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI was Gosha’s first film as a director and it has the vulgar energy of exploitation film although it is exceptionally well made. It’s a hugely action-packed story of the collision of three Samurai in a small town wracked by social division. There are phenomenal action sequences as the conflicts reach their resolution in the only way possible, with slashing steel and flowing blood.
THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI screens only once, Monday September 12. Get your tickets here.
BANDITS VS. SAMURAI SQUADRON
1978, D. Hideo Gosha, 173 min, 35mm
By the time Hideo Gosha made BANDITS VS. SAMURAI SQUADRON, he was a very experienced film director with solid commercial credibility. Thus, this film is much larger in scope than his earlier film, THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI. While the life-blood of this film is of course in its action set pieces, it’s also a very well-made pastiche of different genres: crime and detection, political intrigue, revenge and of, course chanbara (sword fighting). This is an epic, with large themes and a long running time. But it’s also a highly commercial film, so you can be assured of fantastic, bloody action whenever things start to flag. Massive, colorful and intricately constructed, this is a must for fans of Japanese action cinema.
BANDITS VS. SAMURAI SQUADRON screens only once, Monday September 19. Get your tickets here.
Fantastic Fest badgeholders, be sure to arrive early for the show as seats are available on a first come/first seated basis. We'll have a list of badgeholders' names at the door.