Over on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, we kicked the week off with a tribute to the late Seijun Suzuki, a Japanese New Wave renegade who exploded the conventions of the B movie with his inventive approach to narrative and visual style. Our showcase features seven films from his period at Nikkatsu studios in the sixties, including lesser-known titles like the off-kilter whodunit Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), as well as acclaimed masterpieces like the trippy gangster drama Tokyo Drifter (1966) and the pop art–inspired thriller Branded to Kill (1967). Check out the series introduction for highlights from the lineup and the director’s own insights on his legendary career.
Also new this week on the Channel are three haunting explorations of childhood and a double feature saluting another B-movie maestro:
The struggles of youth take the spotlight in this week’s Short + Feature, which pairs Swedish director Lasse Hallström’s 1985 international breakthrough, the Oscar-nominated My Life as a Dog, with Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s 2014 festival favorite Ártún, a coming-of-age tale that captures the experiences of a young village boy who sets off for the city on a quest for his first kiss.
One of the most beloved works of Spanish cinema, Víctor Erice’s 1973 fable obliquely chronicles the horrors of the Franco regime through the eyes of a child living in a Castilian village. Watch this captivating masterpiece alongside all of the edition’s supplemental features, including The Footprints of a Spirit, a documentary featuring Erice, producer Elías Querejeta, coscreenwriter Ángel Fernández-Santos, and actor Ana Torrent. And for an in-depth analysis, don’t miss the latest installment of Observations on Film Art, in which scholar Kristin Thompson discusses Erice’s unique approach to the child’s point of view.
In memory of the great producer and distributor Jack H. Harris, who passed away last month, we’re serving up two B-movie classics from his filmography: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s 1958 The Blob, a sci-fi slime fest in which Steve McQueen plays a young rebel who warns his town of an outer-space invasion, and Jack Woods’s 1970 Equinox, a low-budget creature feature that centers on a group of teens who discover an ancient tome that reveals an evil realm parallel to the human world. Watch these cult-horror sensations, then read filmmaker Brock DeShane’s heartfelt portrait of Harris, whose influence has shaped generations of American genre filmmaking.