From outrageous flavour of the month to respected modern master – Takashi Miike’s rise to fame has been stellar. The former bad boy of Japanese film is now a regular at the world’s most prestigious film festivals.
Tom Mes, whose groundbreaking Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike helped shape this filmmaker’s international career, has been along for the ride ever since Audition turned heads and stomachs at the turn of the millennium. This new book collects more than ten years’ worth of his writing on Miike. From dusty film sets in Japan to festival intrigue on the Riviera, and from the straight-to-video ghetto to the stage, Mes covers the full scope of this unclassifiable filmmaker’s life and work – with the kind of detail and intimacy that only an insider can provide.
Fully endorsed by the filmmaker himself, the full-colour Re-Agitator: A Decade of Writing on Takashi Miike also features a provocative foreword and a gallery of unique set photos by longtime Miike collaborator Christian Storms.
This book is not Agitator Part 2. It doesn’t continue where the first one left off, but rather collects the vast majority of the writing on Miike that Mes has done over the years for magazines, websites, DVD liner notes, in non-English-language books, as well as for festival catalogues. This luxurious coffee-table hardback also contains previously unpublished material, like an interview recorded at the 2005 Venice film festival, plus a piece on 13 Assassins written exclusively for this book.
The wide variety of sources and formats of these texts entails that there is an equally wide variety in styles, tones, and approaches: from impressionistic reviews to personal eyewitness accounts and loose, appreciative write-ups. Re-Agitator is also an opportunity to add some context and background on the development of the Japanese film industry over the past twenty years and Miike’s career therein, something that was largely absent from Agitator. The publisher and author also feel very fortunate to be able to include a series of very candid behind-the-scenes photographs taken during the troubled production of Sukiyaki Western Django.
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