Yasuzo Masumura - Rotten Tomatoes

Yasuzo Masumura

Highest Rated:   Not Available
Lowest Rated:   Not Available
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
A singularly contradictory figure in Japanese cinema, Yasuzo Masumura directed 58 features between 1957 and 1982. He was trained by and worked for a handful of recognized cinematic masters, but chose to work for the most part in the less reputable world of B-movies. Virtually all of his films were made within the commercial film industry but they display a fierce personal vision imbued with a fascination with madness and a passion for the extremes of human behavior. Born in 1924, Masumura earned an undergraduate degree in Law from Tokyo University near the end of World War II. He returned to college after the war for another degree in Literature and Philosophy while working as an assistant director at Daiei Studios. (Novelist Yukio Mishima was one of his classmates, and later had a starring role in his gangster thriller Afraid to Die). After graduating in 1949 with a thesis on Kierkegaard, he became the first Japanese student ever accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale Cinematografia in Rome, where he was taught by such luminaries of the Italian cinema as Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, and Luchino Visconti. He returned to Japan in 1953 and once again began working at Daiei Studios assisting, among others, Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa. In 1957, however, he repudiated the classical tradition his mentors represented with his wild, gritty directorial debut, Kisses, about a down-on-their-luck young couple. The film laid the groundwork for the then-nascent Japanese New Wave and prompted Nagisa Oshima, who would go on to become one of the movement's most prominent directors, to praise Masumura for rescuing Japanese cinema from "its foggy beauty and its stupid gardens." Ironically, Oshima would later condemn Masumura for continuing to work within the studio system while he and the other New Wave directors worked independently. But even though they are products of the commercial film industry, Masumura's films are no less extreme than those of his independent cohorts. His subjects run the gamut from historical dramas to gangster films to softcore porn to oddball comedies, and all of them bear the hallmarks of his transgressive sensibility. His gangster movies and period films often have a generic quality despite the artistic flair he gives them, but his more sex-obsessed outings are truly original. He made psychosexual oddities like Blind Beast, about a blind sculptor pathologically obsessed with a nude model; Red Angel, in which an angel comforts amputees with sexual favors during the Sino-Japanese War; and The Sex Check, in which a batty coach uses very unorthodox methods to train his star female athlete. He also explored less bizarre forms of sexuality in Manji, about an affair between two women, and Garden of Eden, an Italian-produced knockoff of The Blue Lagoon. His talent for applying his distinctive personal artistry to genre fare relates him in many ways to fellow Japanese maverick Seijun Suzuki, but he also has much in common with Hollywood directors like Samuel Fuller, Nicholas Ray, and Frank Tashlin, who were able to express their intensely personal idiosyncrasies from within the Hollywood entertainment machine. Even though Masumura initially denounced his mentors Mizoguchi and Ichikawa as stale and old-fashioned, the influence of the latter on his work is undeniable. The roots of his superheated forays into extreme sexuality can be found in Ichikawa's wonderfully perverse, if more staid, Odd Obsession and Bonchi. At some point he must have reconciled himself to his old boss, because he made a sexy screwball remake of Ichikawa's comedy The Woman Who Touched Legs. Ichikawa's influence can also be felt in two of Masumura's most acclaimed films, The Black Test Car and Giants and Toys, both of which are savage satires on postwar Japan's ruthless business culture that share a scathingly bitter sensibility with Ichikawa's A Full-Up Train (on which M

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Senba Zuru
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Danryu (Warm Current)
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2012
No Score Yet Heitai yakuza (The Hoodlum Soldier)
  • Director
2011
No Score Yet Seisaku no tsuma (Seisaku's Wife)
  • Director
2011
No Score Yet Red Angel
  • Director
1999
No Score Yet Eden no sono (Giardino dell'Eden)
  • Director
1980
No Score Yet Goyôkiba: Kamisori Hanzô jigoku zeme (Hanzo the Razor 2: The Snare)
  • Director
1973
No Score Yet Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (Goyôkiba: Kamisori Hanzô jigoku zeme)
  • Director
1973
No Score Yet The Music (Ongaku)
  • Director
1972
No Score Yet Jotai (Vixen)
  • Director
1969
No Score Yet Blind Beast (Môjû)
  • Director
1969
No Score Yet The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka
  • Director
1967
No Score Yet Rikugun Nakano gakko (Nakano Spy School)
  • Director
1966
No Score Yet Irezumi
  • Director
1966
No Score Yet Manji
  • Director
1964
No Score Yet Black Test Car
  • Director
1962
No Score Yet Tsuma wa kokuhaku suru (A Wife Confesses)
  • Director
1961
No Score Yet Karakkaze Yarô (Afraid to Die)
  • Director
1960
No Score Yet Jokyo (A Woman's Testament)
  • Director
1960
No Score Yet Giants & Toys (Kyojin to gangu)
  • Director
1958
No Score Yet Kisses (Kuchizuke)
  • Director
1957
No Score Yet Ao-zora Musume (The Blue Sky Maiden)
  • Director
1957
No Score Yet Asobi
  • Director
No Score Yet Otto ga mita 'Onna no kobako' yori (The Husband Witnessed)
  • Director

Quotes from Yasuzo Masumura's Characters

No quotes approved yet.