“In the 1980s, Seijun Suzuki reinvented himself as an independent filmmaker. Freed from the commercial obligations of studio work, he indulged his passion for the Taisho era (1912–26), a brief period in Japanese history likened to Europe’s Belle Époque and America’s Roaring Twenties. Though not linked by plot, these three films -- ZIGEUNERWEISEN, KAGERO-ZA, and YUMEJI -- embody the hedonistic cultural atmosphere, blend of Eastern and Western art and fashion, and political extremes of the 1920s, all infused with Suzuki’s own eccentric vision of the time.
Made 10 years after KAGERO-ZA, this final Taisho Trilogy entry spins a fantastical tale from the life of a historical figure. Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934) was an artist known as much for his paintings of beautiful women as for his bohemian lifestyle. As played by rock star Kenji Sawada, the Yumeji of Suzuki’s film is a serial seducer haunted by thoughts of his own death while pursuing ideals of beauty in his art. Traveling to Kanazawa to meet his lover, he instead falls for a widow whose murdered husband inconveniently returns from the dead. Love, desire, life, and death collapse together as Yumeji’s art takes on an uncanny existence of its own.” (Film Society of Lincoln Center)