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Required Viewing: Branded to Kill

Branded to Kill poster

When it comes to a country laying claim on film genres, America typically gets credit for the gangster category.  Our obsession with the hitman for hire goes back to the bounty hunters of classic Westerns and carries on up through the work of Scorsese, Tarantino, and beyond.  In the 30’s and 40’s, entire studios were carried on the back of the gangster genre.  With all due credit to Hollywood for establishing a successful formula, they haven’t exactly been the ones to test its limits.  That honor goes almost exclusively to foreign directors, and in this case Seijun Suzuki, director of 1967’s masterpiece of the hitman drama, Branded to Kill.  It’s a film so brilliant that, after submitting it to the studio, Suzuki was blacklisted for ten years.

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