In the world of Japanese cinema, few directors have accomplished as much as Takashi Miike, having made musicals, murder mysteries, and historical epics at a break-neck pace. Following his debut in 1991, the director has amassed more than 100 directing credits, often cranking out three feature films a year, unmatched by almost any other director. One of his classic films, Ichi the Killer, will be getting a complete restoration from Emperor Motion Picture.
Originally released in 2001, Ichi is based on the Hideo Yamamoto manga series. The film has been banned in many countries due to its graphic violence, including Norway, Malaysia, and Germany.
In the film, two feuding yakuza gangs wage war on one another, with Ichi (Nao Omori) acting out his bloodthirsty and sadistic tendencies on both sides of the war.
"Miike is prolific, but Ichi the Killer stands out as something special," says May Yip, EMP's head of international sales. "Unfortunately, the materials were in very poor condition as it was shot in Beta and only later converted to 35mm. So, given that there was enduring interest and licenses expiring, we took the decision to restore it. The result will be better, even gorier."
EMP was one of the film's initial co-producers. L'Immagine Rittrovata Asia handled restoration duties on the film.
Miike is currently attending the Cannes Film Festival with the samurai film Blade of the Immortal. Throughout his career, Miike has earned a name for himself by combining the beautiful with the bizarre, often incorporating yakuza at the center of his stories.
1999's Audition is considered one of Japan's all-time greatest horror films, which told the story of a lonely director who holds a fake audition in hopes of discovering a love interest. The director gets more than he bargained for when he realizes the secrets one of his prospects has withheld.
More recently, Miike helmed 13 Assassins, a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, in which a group of skilled killers aim to overthrow a ruthless leader in 1844.
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