Quentin Tarantino’s love of Japanese cinema is no secret, having worked at a video store throughout his formative years where he became a strong advocate for international cinema and visual literacy. Even after gaining worldwide success and critical recognition, Tarantino used his platform to introduce Western audiences to geniuses like Akira Kurosawa and Takashi Miike, who were lesser known in America at the time.
With an attraction to all things Japanese, Quentin Tarantino even told Japan Times, “I love the city of Tokyo, I like the Japanese nightlife scene, I have a lot of friends here, and I feel very comfortable with the Japanese. I feel like I was Japanese in another life, if not a few other lives”.
Moving onto his love for Japanese cinema, he also explained to the publication, “It’s not just samurai films that I like — Ishiro Honda is my favourite science-fiction director”. Tarantino then surprisingly proceeds to speak of his love for Roman poruno adult movies, stating: “I even like — in fact, I’m quite enamoured with — the whole Nikkatsu Roman poruno thing. I almost can’t believe that that existed in cinema! The way they did it in the ’70s, where they’re real movies with real actors”.
Notable inspiration for Quentin Tarantino comes in the form of Toshiya Fujita’s Lady Snowblood as well as Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, both of which being influential in the final design for 2003s Kill Bill starring Uma Thurman. A further Japanese icon who Quentin Tarantino is enamoured by is Takashi Miike, director of Ichi the Killer, Dead Alive and Sukiyaki Western Django where Tarantino even makes an eccentric cameo.
The Japanese filmmaker is familiar with the explicitly traumatic, renowned for his frank and blunt approach to sex and violence, though it was 1999s Audition that would take his disturbing world to new cinematic heights.
In this strange tale of a widower auditioning local women to be his new wife, Miike crafts a slow burner that patiently culminates into a gripping drama. However, behind the curtain something far more sinister is brewing, delivering one of cinema’s most surprising and most uncomfortable tonal deviations. It was likely this same violent, twisted tone that attracted purveyor of ferocity Quentin Tarantino, who would call Miike’s film a, “true masterpiece if ever there was one” in an interview with Sky Movies.
One of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite horror films, alongside the likes of Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and Santa Sangre by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Audition would go on to achieve international acclaim and cult attention.
Check out the trailer for the “true masterpiece” below.