Legendary Japanese director Wakamatsu Koji has died, it is being reported, after succumbing to injuries sustained last Friday, when he was hit by a taxi in Tokyo. The 76-year-old filmmaker, oft-compared to French New Wave pioneer Jean Luc Godard, had over 100 films to his credit, with his latest, The Millennial Rapture, having just premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last month, and 11.25: The Day Mishima Chose His Fate set to play the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival in November.
"Wakamatsu's long career can be seen as one spent hurling cinematic bombs onto the cultural battlefield...abandoning cinematic cool for a frenzied portrayal of anarchy that both frees and destroys."
"Wakamatsu, as I write in the forward of Behind the Pink Curtain, was effectively my entry point into Japanese film. His work in the 1960s was utterly unique and a real insight into the spirit of the times. It's great that there was huge renaissance of interest in his work with the release of United Red Army back in 2007, but it's fair to say his life was definitely cut short way way way prematurely."
"Not sure which is sadder: that filmmaker Koji Wakamatsu passed away earlier than he should have, or that almost none of his films have ever been released in the US. Life is always short. But art & film are meant to live forever, assuming there are people or companies brave enough to archive and release the works that deserve it. I can't think of another Japanese filmmaker whose genius and legacy has been so ignored and mistreated in the English-speaking West. Maybe this tragedy will finally galvanize some into action."