Takashi Miike, a Patron Saint of Midnight Madness

For the uninitiated,  Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific (if not the most prolific) directors ever!  Imdb lists him at having 98 director credits alone! Between 2002-2003 he directed no less than 15. Not only that, beyond his incomparable work ethic and thirst to tell stories, he’s wildly skilled, both as a cinematic technician and a fearless artist. He has helped define the Midnight Madness program -  having had MANY films here (not including his films in other TIFF programs!): Fudoh: The New Generation (1996), City of Lost Souls (2000), Ichi the Killer (2001), Gozu (2003), Zebra Man (2004), The Great Yokai War (2005), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) ... are you still counting? Well he's back this year!

Any you know what? He's not just pumping out films on a formula. His movies are extremely varied.  He’s done box office children’s films--such as The Great Yokai War, and Yattaman--and he’s done resolutely NOT children films; some of the most shocking and upsetting films of all time; horror legends such as Ichi the Killer and Audition (1999).

One of my life’s happy pleasures is putting on a Miike film and not knowing what to expect!  Where will the story go this time?!  Watch Gozu or Visitor Q (2001) if you want to see what I mean. And that’s not the half of it, he’s even gone to specialized iterations of genre, and successfully so.  In epic samurai films, he created a master work in 13 Assassins (2010), which was very action driven, as well as a serious, heartfelt samurai character piece with Hari-kari (2011), which was nominated for the Palme D’Or. With such a ridiculous work rate, fervent passion, insatiable urge to create - His legacy evolves each year.

See this uncensored if possible!
Memorable for me--before the Toronto screening of Ichi the Killer, our Maestro of Midnight Colin Geddes read a touching note Miike had sent for the audience, describing it as a sort of love story --IRRC comparing it to Bambi… (This is a movie that handed out barf bags to the midnight madness as part of it’s promotional push).  He’s a funny guy.  He also has a cameo in Eli Roth’s Hostel--warning the protagonist  about the film’s notorious torture company with with this line in English, “If you’re not careful, you can spend all of your money in there”.

MM Veteran Eli Roth as Ichi The Killer's Kakihara
His body of work is beyond expansive, with yakuza films, the Dead or Alive films (must experience to know) and an adaptation of the manga/anime series Terra Formars next year (ultra violent story about genetically modified humans fighting a legion of intelligent mutant cockroaches) and you can safely bet
 it will be pretty damn intense.
Mind not blown yet?  Well word is… he might be coming to the Ryerson this year with his new film Yakuza Apocalypse.

Fri Sept 18, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sat Sept 19, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 2

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