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Tuesday, May 08, 2018, 18:30 - 21:30

A boisterous, brutal cinematic bombshell evoking the halcyon days of 60s-70s tough guys

Sneak Preview Screening: "The Blood of Wolves (Korou no Chi)" followed by
a Q&A with director Kazuya Shiraishi and novelist Yuko Yuzuki

Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30 pm*Blood of Wolves 356p
*Please note early start time.
Warning: graphic violence

In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2018  126 minutes  

Director: Kazuya Shiraishi
Writer: Junya Ikegami, based on the novel by Yuko Yuzuki
Producer: Kazuhito Amano
Starring: Koji Yakusho, Tori Matsuzaka, Yoko Maki, Takuma Otoo, Taro Suruga,
Tomoya Nakamura, Junko Abe, Shido Nakamura, Yutaka Takenouchi, Kenichi Takito,
Kenichi Yajima, Tomorowo Taguchi, Pierre Taki, Renji Ishibashi, Yosuke Eguchi
Film courtesy of Toei                        

It doesn't get more hardboiled and electrifying than this.

Harking back to Toei Studios' classic outlaw movies of the 1960s and 70s, when its numerous ninkyo ('chivalry') gangster sagas topped the box office, "The Blood of Wolves" immerses us in the dog-eat-dog world of Hiroshima in 1988, before the Anti-Organized Crime Law has been passed and internecine battles between rival yakuza clans are engulfing the city.

It is a world of craven thugs and corrupt law enforcers (as critic Jasper Sharp puts it), and the vaunted traditional codes of behavior are being revealed as shams.

After a recent transfer from headquarters, rookie cop Shuichi Hioka (Matsuzaka) has had just about enough of his new partner's balls-out behavior. "What you're doing is insane, Ogami! Police officers are supposed to uphold justice," he yells in exasperation. "You wanna hear my idea of justice?" responds Shogo Ogami (Yakusho). "I ain't got one." The maverick detective, volatile and unpredictable, has no qualms about bending the law if it will help rein in the gang warfare. Favoring wide-collared polka-dot shirts and sunglasses, and ravenous like the wolf of his name, Ogami is dogged by rumors that he's in cahoots with the mob.

Hioka secretly takes notes on his partner's shockingly unorthodox methods as they investigate the disappearance of a finance company employee, which seems to have kicked off the latest conflict between rival gangs. Scrambling to retain his own sense of honor and humanity (codes that once governed both cops and criminals), Hioka is soon in over his head, swept up by Ogami's maelstrom of raw brutality, scrambling to halt the eye-for-an-eye clan vengeance. But just as Hioka is ready to present his evidence to Internal Affairs, the rogue detective disappears and the hounds of hell are unleashed...

Director Kazuya Shiraishi has explored similar territory in his previous high-octane actioners ("The Devil's Path," "Twisted Justice"), and ushered his actors to multiple awards. But he hits a career high with "The Blood of Wolves," and there is sure to be year-end recognition of the film's stars, particularly Koji Yakusho, whose towering performance is anchored by an underlying dignity that is essential to Ogami's character. Shiraishi's "Twisted Justice" screenwriter here adapts a bestselling novel by female author Yuko Yuzuki, and one cannot help but feel her gender delivers a revitalizing jolt to the genre. " This story wouldn't exist if it wasn't for [Kinji Fukusaku's Hiroshima-set] 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity,' " Yuzuki has said. "It's a world that women can't enter even if they try, which is the very reason why it impressed me."

Join us for this sneak preview of the grippingly realistic, hugely entertaining masterwork "The Blood of Wolves" ahead of its Japanese release on May 12.

For more (in Japanese):

KAZUYA SHIRAISHI began his career as an assistant director on several Koji Wakamatsu films, including "Asunaki Machikado" (1997), "Perfect Education 6" (2004) and "Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw" (2005), as well as on films by Isao Yukisada and Isshin Inudo. Following his feature directorial debut, "Lost Paradise in Tokyo" (2010), he made an international splash with "The Devil's Path" (2013), which also swept that year's domestic film awards. He followed up with the hardboiled "Twisted Justice" (2016), "Birds Without Names" (2017) and earlier this year, "Sunny/32." We can also expect to see his Koji Wakamatsu biopic later this year.

Author YUKO YUZUKI worked as a freelance writer before making her award-winning literary debut with the suspense novel "Rinshō shinri" (Clinical Truth) in 2008. In 2013 her collection of linked stories, "Kenji no honkai" (The Prosecutor's Most Cherished Desire) received the Haruhiko Ōyabu Award. Other titles include "Saigo no shōnin" (The Last Witness, 2010) and "Kenji no shimei" (The Prosecutor's Destiny, 2013), which was adapted into a TV film. She has won a wide following for her hardboiled style and meticulous procedural details.

Please make your reservations at the FCCJ Reception Desk (3211-3161) or register below. You may attend the Q&A session without attending the screening, but you will not have seating priority. All film screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.   

- Karen Severns, Film Committee

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