Director: Yves Montmayeur
“I love the Yakuza… I see them as the heirs to the samurai spirit.” - actor Sonny Chiba
Literally translated as ‘good-for-nothing', Japan's criminal brotherhood - the Yakuza - underwent a makeover into chivalrous heroes thanks to post-World War II cinema, where real-life criminals became screen stars.
This documentary surveys the key figures of new Japanese cinema, like Takashi Miike and Takeshi Kitano, while opening a treasure trove of clips from four decades of hard-boiled cinema that ignited the Japanese box office.
“Just as early 20th century Americans needed the Western, contemporary Japanese need a genre which can serve as a moral battleground - a genre on which the traditional virtues can fight to the death.” - Paul Schrader, filmmaker and devotee of the Yakuza genre