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Japanese Film Noir at San Sebastian Film Festival

This year’s San Sebastian Film Festival hosted a retrospective of Japanese Film Noir or Japon en Negro. A complex genre born out of imported American detective films, Japanese film noir is essentially American film noir digested by the Japanese post-war psyche. It even has its own nationalistic spin. The retrospective was thorough, beginning with the first post-war Japanese detective movies, tracing the genre through the Yakuza films of the 1960s. Even more recent works from directors like Takashi Miike of the 1990s were featured—Miike was one of the main influences on the “Splat Pack” filmmakers like Eli Roth and Rob Zombie. Rarely do you see a film festival trace a genre back so thoroughly.

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