Masayuki Suo

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Masayuki Suo
Born (1956-10-29) October 29, 1956 (age 57)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Film director and screenwriter
Years active 1983-present
Spouse(s) Tamiyo Kusakari

Masayuki Suo (周防 正行 Suo Masayuki?, born October 29, 1956 in Tokyo) is a Japanese film director. He is best known for his two Japan Academy Prize-winning films, 1992's Sumo Do, Sumo Don't and 1996's Shall We Dance?.

Life and career[edit]

In 1982, along with filmmakers Yoshiho Fukuoka, Itsumichi Isomura, Toshiyuki Mizutani and Akira Yoneda, Suo founded a production company called Unit 5.[1] Suo worked as an assistant director and appeared in the cast of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's directorial debut, the pink film Kandagawa Pervert Wars (1983).[2] At this early stage in his career, Suo also wrote scripts for the pink film genre, such as Scanty Panty Doll: Pungent Aroma (1983).[3] Suo first film as director was also in the pink film genre: Abnormal Family: Older Brother's Bride (1984), a film designed as a tribute and satire of Yasujirō Ozu's Tokyo Story.[4] In his book on the pink film, Behind the Pink Curtain (2008), Jasper Sharp calls Abnormal Family: Older Brother's Bride an early masterpiece, and one of the wittiest films ever made in the genre. Suo not only pokes gentle fun at Ozu's story, but also mimics many of his stylistic techniques, such as shooting his actors from a low, tatami-mat angle, stiff and static characters speaking to each other with mis-matched eye-angles, and a simple, sentimental melody which accompanies the film.[5] In the years since its release, the film has amused film students with the activity of locating and identifying Suo's many nods to Ozu and his oeuvre.[3] Abnormal Family was Suo's only directorial work in the pink film genre.

He next worked for Juzo Itami, to film "making of" pieces for that director's A Taxing Woman (1987) and A Taxing Woman 2 (1988).[5] He made his regular feature film debut with Fancy Dance in 1989, and won the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for his next feature, Sumo Do, Sumo Don't, in 1991.[6] Suo's 1996 Shall We Dance? won fourteen awards at the Japanese Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Film[7] and performed strongly in U.S. theaters.[8] He also directed the 2006 legal film I Just Didn't Do It[9] and the 2012 medical-themed film A Terminal Trust.[10]

Style and influences[edit]

In a 1997 interview with IndieWire, Suo talked about his filmmaking style:

"The most important thing for me in movie making is to love the characters of the movie, so even though you only have a few seconds with a character, that person has to have his own life. Therefore, I want to respect it, I want to make movies where each character has his own individuality."[11]






  1. ^ Weisser, Thomas; Yuko Mihara Weisser (1998). Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films. Miami: Vital Books : Asian Cult Cinema Publications. p. 117. ISBN 1-889288-52-7. 
  2. ^ Weisser, p.217.
  3. ^ a b Weisser, p. 308-309.
  4. ^ a b Midnight Eye review: Abnormal Family (Hentai Kazoku: Aniki No Yomesan, 1983, director: Masayuki SUO)
  5. ^ a b Sharp, Jasper (2008). Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema. Guildford: FAB Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-903254-54-7. 
  6. ^ "Nihon Eiga Kantoku Kyōkai Shinjinshō" (in Japanese). Directors Guild of Japan. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Awards for Shall We Dansu?". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  8. ^ "Box office / business for Shall we dansu?". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  9. ^ Frater, Patrick (November 1, 2006). "Suo pic hits dance card". Variety. 
  10. ^ Schilling, Mark (October 19, 2012). "Understand Japanese cinema". The Japan Times. 
  11. ^ a b c Kaufman, Anthony (July 11, 1997). "Eight Questions for Masayuki Suo, The Director of "Shall We Dance?"". Indiewire. 
  12. ^ "変態家族兄貴の嫁さん" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  13. ^ a b I Just Didn'T Do It - Altamira Pictures Presents Movie Official Web

External links[edit]