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Branded to Kill

The film that caused Seijun Suzuki to be banned from making a non-TV movie for decades. This is one of the stranger Criterion Collection releases (in the good way; not in the way that, say, Armageddon is a strange Criterion release) that a lot of people might not know about. It's a surrealistic Yakuza picture about a hitman who's trying to become the number 1 contract killer. About 30 years later, Suzuki did a remake/sequel called Pistol Opera, which is good, but a little too self-indulgent – with Branded to Kill, he was trying to do a film his way, yet still get it released by the studio, but with Pistol Opera, he'd already gotten his (rightfully deserved) reputation, and had more control and let his excesses go as far as he wanted to take them. Pistol Opera is still worth watching, but Branded to Kill is superior.