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Japan, 2004 (MIFF 2004, SA..KA..TA.. Brain Monkey Sushi 04 Raw Japanese Cinema)

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura

Azumi Japan

'Boasting some of the most impressive swordplay in the history of samurai epics, Azumi is a visceral masterpiece of violent style and powerful substance. This modern-day classic is driven by the fierce performance of Aya Ueto as Azumi, a beautiful young girl with a ruthless mission to kill.

'Orphaned during the war-torn Tokugawa Shogun era in Japan, Azumi is raised by Ji, who has been ordered to cultivate assassins to eliminate the bloodthirsty warlords. Burdened by the cruel orders to kill friends and enemies alike, Azumi begins to question her fate, but she forges ahead, unaware of the terrible bloodshed that awaits.

'Based on a popular manga, Azumi interweaves romance, political history, and psychological observation into an adrenaline-fueled triumph of filmmaking. Director Ryuhei Kitamura is becoming a legend in his own time with his distinct style that is as elegant as it is graphically violent. Ueto is an epiphany as Azumi, one of the toughest female heroes in cinema history. Jam packed with action throughout, the film's final battle scene is, at once, ethereal and precisely calculated to create an epic climax that will rock your world.' -sundance Film Festival

D Ryuhei Kitamura P Mataichiro Yamamoto, Toshiaki Nakazawa S Rikiya Mizushima, Isao Kiriyama WS Bogeydom Licensing L Japanese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2003/115mins

Ryuhei Kitamura was born in Osaka, Japan in 1969. Films include: Heat After Dark (1996), Versus (2000), Alive (2002), Jam Films (MIFF 2003, co-dir).

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