There are prolific directors, and then there’s Takashi Miike. The Japanese filmmaker behind modern classics like Audition, Ichi the Killer, and 13 Assassins has over 100 credits to his name, and with an average of two films a year over the last decade, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Perhaps most impressive for a filmmaker with such an extensive resume, his latest, the crime comedy/romance First Love, might just be one of his best. The film stars Masataka Kubota as Leo, a man who’s only good at one thing — boxing — until he gets diagnosed with a brain tumor that could take him out of the ring for good. That’s when he meets Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a young woman forced into prostitution by her father’s debts, and when the two wind up on the run from the Yakuza after getting caught up in a bonkers drug-smuggling scheme, First Love unfolds one crazy night in Tokyo on the run from hitmen, corrupt cops, and an ambitious gangster who’s seen one too many movies.
The critically acclaimed Yakuza comedy hit limited theaters stateside this weekend, but first, First Love made a stop by Fantastic Fest 2019 in Austin, Texas, where we had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Miike to discuss what it means to get a lifetime achievement award and why he never plans to slow down on making films. Watch what he had to say in the video above and, and check out a breakdown of what we discussed below.
- Discusses his lifetime achievement award and how he continually comes up with hilarious, shocking ideas for new films.
- Talks about making a movie to entertain kids and the kid in all of us.
- Talks about how he has no intention of slowing down when it comes to his prolific film output.
- Where does that deep abiding love of cinema come from for him?
- Discusses creating complex characters who are trying to find their way out of darkness.
- As a filmmaker who creates such indelible imagery, what are the images he sees in the world that inspire him?
Here’s the official synopsis for First Love:
The film is the prolific auteur, Takashi Miike, at his most fun and anarchic, a noir-tinged yakuza film blending genres in the story of a young boxer and a call girl, who fall passionately in love while getting innocently caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.