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Zigeunerweisen 15 rating

Seijun Suzuki's enigmatic, sumptuously designed dream of 1920s Japan might, just might be a ghost story... Voted the best Japanese film of the '80s by Japanese critics.

Drama 1981 145 mins

Director: Seijun Suzuki


Voted the best Japanese film of the 80s by Japanese critics, Suzuki's enigmatic four-hander is set in a sumptuously imagined Taisho Japan (think Edwardian-style decadence). With a 78 rpm record of Pablo de Sarasate's 'Zigeunerweisen' providing the McGuffin, the characters dance narrative rings around each other: relationships change and identities blur. But is one of them a ghost?

Cult director Suzuki had blazed a trail during the 1950s and 60s but by 1980 had barely worked since his bruising battle with, and blacklisting by, Nikkatsu Studios. In the wake of general disinterest in Suzuki's comeback film, producer Genjiro Arato hit upon a novel distribution strategy: exhibiting and touring the film in a purpose-bult inflatable dome. The release was a huge success, earning the film a traditional cinema release. Suzuki would follow it up with two more films also set in the Taishō era, Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).