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13 Assassins (Director's Cut)

(Jusannin no Shikaku)
Sponsored by: SuperClub Vidéotron

Montreal Premiere

13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut) 13 Assassins (Director's Cut)

WINNER: Best Production Designer, Asian Film Awards 2011
WINNER: Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Lighting, Awards of the Japanese Academy 2011
Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2010

Screening Times

“Terrifically entertaining” — Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“Kinetic film-making of a high order” — Philip French, THE OBSERVER

“Epic in scope, ambition, and execution... a classic swords-and-samurai film with postmodern blood and guts, and it's completely satisfying” — Ty Burr, BOSTON GLOBE


Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Shoichiro Ikemiya, Daisuke Tengan
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Hiroki Matsukata, Goro Inagaki, Yusuke Iseya
Producers: Toshiaki Nakazawa, Jeremy Thomas, Takashi Hiraj
Print Source: Alliance-Vivafilm/Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing



Unfurl the bloody scroll, for the moment has come… “total massacre!” A family relation of both the current and previous Shoguns, Lord Naritsugu effectively has a license to kill — and to rape and mutilate too, as the passing whim might strike the clearly psychopathic young aristocrat. There is no legal recourse for those he has wronged, nor for the noblemen who see the menace in Naritsugu’s political ascension. There is, however, another option. It will be far less noble, and given Naritsugu’s extensive entourage of warriors, very difficult. But the outrages must be stopped. Assassination is the only choice. A dozen skilled and resolute samurai — and the crafty and wild-spirited peasant hunter who joins them for thrills — are prepared to gamble their lives that Naritsugu might be stripped of his own.

13 ASSASSINS joins the playful NINJA KIDS!!! (also at Fantasia this year) and the 3D effort HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI in a recent blitz of jidaigeki — Japanese films revisiting the feudal era — from the absurdly productive and incisively revisionist genre-jumper Takashi Miike. The man’s many pastiches of archetypal pop cinema, from kiddie sci-fi fare to J-horror and gritty crime flicks, have always hit their mark, and the gripping, potent 13 ASSASSINS is no exception. It’s a classic tale of moral affront and carefully planned collective vengeance in the tradition of SEVEN SAMURAI and the Japanese literary classic The 47 Ronin. Its vivid drama cranks up the intensity until the epic final act, in which an entire village becomes an elaborate death trap and killing floor — and Miike, as Fantasia regulars well know, isn’t shy about graphic violence!

Beyond the characteristically crafty and considered shocks Miike deploys, though, is the solidly wrought and sympathetic tale of an intriguing array of characters, with a cast to match. Koji Yakusho (MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, CURE) is samurai veteran Shimada Shinzaemon, the band’s leader. At his sides are his old friend Kuranaga (Hiroki Matsukata, BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY) and his nephew Shimada (frequent Miike star Takayuki Yamada, also in GANTZ and MILOCRORZE at the fest this year). Particularly unsettling is Goro Inagaki’s turn as Naritsugu — graceful, gentle even, almost childlike, yet extravagantly sadistic. Don’t miss this rare chance to see these talents and more worthily displayed in the full-length Japanese cut of Takashi Miike’s magnificent 13 ASSASSINS!

—Rupert Bottenberg

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