Director Tsukamoto Says His Samurai Pic ‘Killing’ Tackles ‘Modern Issues’

Naman RamachandranNaman Ramachandran is International Correspondent at Variety, based out of London and Asia, a critic for Sight & Sound, and a fortnightly columnist on world cinema for The Hindu. Naman’s work as an author includes "Rajinikanth: The Definitive Biography" (Penguin), "Lights, Camera, Masala: Making Movies In Mumbai" (IBH) and chapters in "Rough Guide To Film" (Rough Guides), "Movies: From The Silent Classics Of The Silver Screen To The Digital and 3D Era" (Universe) and "Movie Star Chronicles: A Visual History of 320 of the World's Greatest Movie Stars" (Peregrine). He has previously worked with the British Film Institute, Cineuropa, HBO Asia and MTV India. He is a BAFTA member.


Cult Japanese actor/director Shinya Tsukamoto, known for “Tetsuo,” “Tokyo Fist,” “Bullet Ballet” and “A Snake of June,” hit the Busan Festival for the Gala screening of his latest film, “Killing,” his first stab at the samurai historical genre.

Addressing a press conference as the sole representative of the film because Typhoon Kong-rey left his cast stranded in Tokyo, Tsukamoto, who also acts in the film, described the film as a “historical drama addressing modern issues.”

The filmmaker said that his intention behind the film was to make the current generation of Japanese people aware of the horrors of war, as Japan has now had more than 70 years of peace. “When you look at violence, the violence is within us, within every human heart,” said Tsukamoto. “We don’t use our violence, we only watch it on screen. Young people don’t know about the danger of war. The ones who have experienced have passed away. I thought I had to be cautious and prudent in depicting it.”

Festival director Jay Jeon, who moderated the discussion, compared “Killing” favorably to the classic American Westerns of director John Ford. “I have seen Spaghetti Westerns rather than the classic Hollywood Westerns. When you compare ‘Killing’ to those, it’s quite refreshing,” Tsukamoto said.

Despite being in the industry for decades, Tsukamoto is still dependent on the box office fate of his current film to decide his next project. “At my age I should have moved on to large-scale films, but because of the lack of commercial elements I stay small scale. At least I’m staying true to myself,” said Tsukamoto, who’s 58.