“Age of Assassins” — Japanese Films of the 1960s in Meacham Auditorium

27 Sep

Please join us Monday, September 27 at 7pm in Meacham Auditorium for the first in a series of five films presented by the Japan Foundation: Age of Assassins.  These films, screened in 35 mm, are all classics of 1960s cinema.  The series is co-sponsored by SIAS, the Film and Video Studies Program, and the Oklahoma City Musuem of Art.

All films in the series are screened in Japanese with English subtitles.  All are free and open to the public.

Age of Assassins (Satsujinkyo jidai) 殺人狂時代
B & W/ 1967 / 99min
Director: Okamoto Kihachi

Dr. Mizorogi, director of an insane asylum, has formed a secret organization called the Great Japanese Population Regulation Council in league with former Nazis. He uses his own patients, insane paranoiacs, and trains them to kill the “useless” of society. Mizorogi selects three names from the phone book and assigns his assassins to quickly kill two of them.

The third target, however, is Kikyo Shinji, a near-sighted, bumbling criminal psychologist more concerned with his athlete’s foot than his personal appearance. Mizorogi’s killer tries to murder Shinji with a deadly playing card but Shinji miraculously escapes when a statue falls on the assassin’s head. Shinji, figuring someone is after him, tries to find help but only ends up gaining the assistance of Keiko, a tabloid reporter, and Bill, a petty crook. After receiving a fashion make-over from Tetsuko, Shinji is again targeted by several of Mizorogi’s assassins but manages to miraculously survive each time.

Keiko and Bill, however, are captured by Mizorogi’s accomplices with only Bill managing to escape with Shinji’s help. In the meantime, Mizorogi, fascinated with Shinji, meets with him at a bar and explains his philosophy: everyone is a killer and there is nothing more enjoyable than murder. Shinji learns from one of the assassins that Keiko is being held at the foot of Mt. Fuji. He and Bill go there only to find themselves in the middle of a Self-Defense Force firing range, another of Mizorogi traps. Thanks to Shinji’s ingenuity and a bit of pure luck, the two again miraculously escape.

Mizorogi, suspicious of both his Nazi colleagues and Shinji, invites Shinji to the asylum to confront him with the truth. The Nazi’s were after Shinji because of the diamond, Cleopatra’s Tears, implanted in his body during WW II. Shinji admits he is not who he seems: his bumbling guise has been a ruse designed to lure the Nazi’s into action. The two fight a “Spanish” duel in front of the patients and the Doctor is killed and Keiko saved. On the way back, however, Keiko unsuccessfully tries to kill Shinji. She reveals that she is Mizorogi’s daughter and, ashamed at her failure, she kills herself.
Afterwards, Bill looks for Shinji but only finds a man who does not recognize him. The man Bill knew, it turns out, was Shinji’s identical twin brother, a trained killer.

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