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fantasia 2004
films + schedule

Izô: Kaosu mataha fujôri no kijin
sponsored by: Boîte Noire

2004 | 128 min | 35mm
Japanese language, English subtitles
screening times
July 9th, 2005
9:20 pm
Hall Theatre
July 18th, 2005
5:00 pm
Hall Theatre
tickets available through... Admission Ticket Network

A merciless, bloodthirsty warrior is captured, crucified and cruelly killed by his enemies. Centuries later, in modern times, he rematerializes in a filthy alleyway. He has only one purpose in existence—vengeance. Ruthless, unstoppable vengeance. The mysterious powers that be are aware of his return, for somehow, they know that they are his ultimate target. All manner of ghosts and guardians are dispatched to destroy Izo before he can achieve his goal. Izo is beaten, slashed, stabbed and shot, but he cannot be destroyed. Hurtled with monstrous force through space and time, his soul in shreds and his appearance increasingly demonic, he slays all in his path with bitter, heartrending ferocity. By the time he has slain not only his own mother but himself, it is clear that Izo is no longer anything resembling human. His blind, irrational hunger for revenge has negated his humanity. Passively observed by a folk-punk troubadour, Izo’s confounding, abstract journey of endless slaughter progresses to its impossible conclusion…

Just as its central character is a paradox, so is this astounding offering from the brilliant bad boy of Japanese cinema, Takashi Miike. Izo is both a deliberate exercise in inhuman endurance, for its protagonist and audience alike, and a magnificently engaging piece of pop cinema that will hold your attention to its final moments. With a body count in the triple digits and gallons of blood, it’s a furious display of cinematic violence, and of cinematic inventiveness—with every fight, Izo finds himself suddenly tossed into a new and unfamiliar setting. He exists in a hyper-reality that changes drastically every few moments. But Izo’s headlong charge into an eternal hell is punctuated by delightful and maddening touches only Miike would throw our way. There are the musical interludes care of Kazuki Tomokawa, a radical ’60s folk singer. There are the subliminal images and flashes of found footage from sex-ed films and WWII newsreels. There are numerous cameos from Japanese stars, including the great Takeshi Kitano as a Prime Minister of sorts. And then there are those talking flowers… This is Miike’s most thorough rumination on the violent cycle of life and death, the unbreakable loop of creation and destruction from which our species, particularly the males, cannot remove ourselves. It’s also a mind-blowing, kick-ass fantasy fight-flick of unprecedented intensity.

—Rupert Bottenberg

"Defies, rejects and mocks rational analysis—indeed, it seems odd to even describe it using conventional syntax and punctuation… a cubist/surrealist kind of philosophical horror-comedy: try to imagine Luis Bunuel and novelists Haruki Murakami and William S. Burroughs collaborating on a demented manga version of Highlander" – Neil Young, NEIL YOUNG’S FILM LOUNGE

"Is this the first philosophical splatter film? A demolition of Japan's body politic? Or maybe a sensitive account of the programming of male hormones? Only Miike knows for sure, and his answer is up there on the screen" – Tony Rayns, BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE


Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Shigenori Takechi
Cast: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryuhei Matsuda, Takeshi Kitano, Ken Ogata, Bob Sapp, Susumu Terajima, Kenichi Endo
Producers: Taizô Fukumaki, Fujio Matsushima
Distributor: Media Blasters


Takashi Miike
Izo (2004), One Missed Call (2003), Gozu (2003), Ichi the Killer (2001), Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), Visitor Q (2001), Audition (1999), Dead or Alive (1999), Fudoh (1996)


In the late 1970s, Takashi Miike attended the Yokohama Academy of Broadcasting and Film. He worked in television for almost a decade and then began his directorial career making direct-to-video films in the early 1990s. Miike gained international attention in 1999 with his controversial, ferocious horror film Audition. He is currently one of the world's most prolific filmmakers. He has also appeared in several films including Last Life in the Universe, Neighbor No. 13, Otakus in Love and the upcoming Eli Roth film Hostel.

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