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DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS

Japan, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus / Miike Takashi)

Director: Miike Takashi

Dead or Alive 2: Birds, is far from a traditional sequel. Mizuki, a crack hitman fond of painfully loud shirts, is hired by an enigmatic magician played by Shinya Tsukamoto, director of the Tetsuo films (MIFF 1994) as well as Tokyo Fist (MIFF 1996) and Gemini (MIFF 2000). His target is a Yakuza boss, the aim is to create a gangland turf war. The night of the hit, a mysterious competitor appears, plants a bullet in the victim's head and disappears.

Mizuki is not bothered, he claims the assassination for himself along with a substantial fee, and makes a run for it. Taking a boat to the isolated island where he was raised, Mizuki discovers that one of his sailing companions is none other than his rival, and childhood friend.

"Both have concluded that it's time to retire from the underworld. Meanwhile their more recent past is catching up with them. Extraordinary images and editing... an absurdist Yakuza thriller crossed with a sardonic pastiche of 'uplift' movies. Only Miike would come up with a movie that parodies its predecessor, rhymes gunplay with conjuring tricks and at the same time discusses the morality of Christian retribution." - Tony Rayns, Vancouver and London Film Festivals

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