Events, Japan, News, Screenings

Nikkatsu Studios season at the BFI

Jasper Sharp selects a programme of popular and epoch-defining works from the Nikkatsu Studios in the 1950s and 1960s this June…

A fascinating strand this June at the BFI Southbank, Seasons In The Sun, looks back at the heyday of the Nikkatsu Studios. Founded in 1912, the studio ceased production during wartime only to resume in 1954, establishing itself again in 1956 with films like Takumi Furukawa’s Season In The Sun (Taiyô no kisetsu) – a mirror to the rebellious youth of Hollywood’s Rebel Without A Cause and Blackboard Jungle. 

As you’d expect from Jasper, the selection samples across varied genres and styles; from Seijun Suzuki’s cult classic Branded To Kill (Koroshi no rakuin) through the mercy mission of Ko Nakahira’s Crimson Wings (Kurenai no tsubasa) to Shohei Imamura’s Pigs And Battleships (Buta to gunkan), about the squalid underworld that surrounds a US naval base.

Other films include: Umetsugu Inoue’s Man Who Causes A Storm (Arashi wo yobu Otoko), about a jazz drummer who gets involved with gangsters (the director remade the film twice, including a version for Shaw Brothers called King Drummer; Suzuki assistant Yasuharu Hasebe’s Retaliation (Shima wa moratta), a gritty tale of gang warfare; and also from Hasebe, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, starring Lady Snowblood-to-be, Meiko Kaji.

And there’s lots more besides. Jasper introduces the season at a screen talk on Monday 3 May. The full programme and booking are on the BFI site now.

So what am I doing this June… oh, hang on, there’s that Terracotta Festival?

There’s more coming up at the BFI soon too, with Yasujiro Ozu’s last surviving silent picture An Inn In Tokyo (Tôkyô no yado) being screened on the 13 and 16 May as part of The Roots of Neorealism season.

Also, throughout June and July Abbas Kiarostami’s Tokyo-based, Japanese language Like Someone in Love will be playing an extended run in a new print.

About the author

Andrew Heskins
Founder of, which he's been running since 2002. And it's all thanks to Monkey, Water Margin and those damn fantastic 80s Hong Kong action movies! Andy works as a graphic designer in London... More »

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