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Kenji Misumi

Oct 5 — Oct 14, 2012

Presented in collaboration with the Japan Foundation

Japanese director Kenji Misumi (1921–1975) was best known for his wildly popular Zatoichi samurai films. Versatile and underrated in the West, he was also one of the pioneers of the jidai geki (historical drama), and was nicknamed Little Mizoguchi for his stylistic mastery. Although he died young, in 1975, his career spanned pivotal eras of Japanese filmmaking—and his complete body of work demonstrates his deftness in tone, style, and content, and his commitment to breaking through the conventions of the Daiei studio system. This selection of Misumi’s films, all in rarely screened 35mm prints, includes his celebrated sword thrillers, among them his most acclaimed film, Destiny’s Son, and the blockbuster comic-action Zatoichi series, as well a handful of melodramas and horror films, each rendered with a visual poetry all the filmmaker’s own.

All films directed by Kenji Misumi, and are in Japanese with English subtitles.