Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu, whose film career started in pornography and ended in acclaimed independent productions, died this evening after being hit by a taxi October 12th. Wakamatsu, 76, just two weeks ago was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea. At the time the director of Caterpillar said he felt his movies were underappreciated in Japan but said he was honored by the recognition. “I am an independent filmmaker and this goes against the system in Japan. But you have to make the films that are in your heart, not films other people want you to make,” he told AFP. Initially known for soft porn that frequently rose to the level of social critique, Wakamatsu attracted international attention with Secrets Behind The Wall at the 1965 Berlin International Film Festival. His 2008 United Red Army was about a police standoff with the Japanese Maoist group after they took a woman hostage. The film won the Best Asian Movie Award at Berlin, where Shinobu Terajima, the actress who starred in Caterpillarwon best actress in 2010. Another recent work The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate screened this year at Cannes. It focused on writer Yukio Mishima, who took over the Japanese defense offices, making speeches bemoaning a weakened subservient Japan and then disemboweled himself in ritualistic “hara-kiri” in 1970. His final film The Millennial Rapture screened at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
R.I.P. Koji Wakamatsu
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