Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto
2018 / 80 minutes / Strictly 18+


“The first kill is the hardest. If you can’t kill, your sword is meaningless.”

Screens in Sydney and Melbourne.

After about 250 years of peace in Japan, samurai warriors in the mid-19th century became impoverished. Consequently, many left their masters to become wandering ronin. Young Tsuzuki (Sosuke Ikematsu) is one such samurai, a skilled swordsman, but a hesitant warrior who has never wielded his sword in battle.

More comfortable with helping villagers in the countryside, Tsuzuki forms a bond with one particular family of farmers. He spars daily with Ichisuke, a farmer’s son, and harbours romantic feelings towards Yu (Yu Aoi), Ichisuke’s sister. While farm life is peaceful, turmoil is brewing in the capital of Edo. The US Navy has sent Commodore Perry to Japan, insisting on trade. And this, in turn, is about to spark civil unrest. Yu is concerned as she senses that Tsuzuki will soon leave to join the impending civil war, and consequently perish.

One day, a wandering ronin (masterless samurai) named Sawamura visits the village and invites Tsuzuki to fight with him in Edo. Tsuzuki grabs the opportunity, but he doesn’t know that he would have to wield his sword before their journey even begins.

Shinya Tsukamoto (Fires on the Plain, JFF 2015; Tetsuo The Iron Man) delivers another cult classic in the making with Killing, a raw and visceral film which portrays samurai like they have never appeared in cinema before. Leading the small cast are the talented Sosuke Ikematsu (The Tokyo Night Sky Is The Densest Shade of Blue, After the Storm) and Yu Aoi (Birds Without Names, Japanese Girls Never Die).

75th Venice International Film Festival – Main Competition

Apart from directing, writing, shooting and editing the film, Tsukamoto also appears as an important character in Killing. As an actor, he has most recently appeared in Martin Scorcese’s Silence and Shinji Higuchi’s Shin Godzilla.
Audience warning: Contains gore, strong themes, and strong violence (including sexual violence).

Saturday 17th November

Event Cinemas George Street, Sydney

Saturday 24th November

Event Cinemas George Street, Sydney

Friday 23rd November

ACMI, Melbourne

Sunday 25th November

ACMI, Melbourne

Screens in: Sydney and Melbourne

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Screenplay: Shinya Tsukamoto

Producer: Shinya Tsukamoto

Cast: Sosuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi and Shinya Tsukamoto

Genre: Period

Format: DCP colour