An idiosyncratic filmmaker whose movies feel like a separate genre in and of themselves, Takeshi Miike is one of the most beloved cult directors of modern cinema. With over 100 movies in his filmography, Miike is best known for his visceral scenes of extreme violence and excessive special effects, though really, his cinema cannot be tied to one genre, creating an eclectic tapestry of multiple genres, styles and forms.
Such has been proved throughout his impressive career that spans over 30 years. Making his first movie in 1991 with Toppû! Minipato tai – Aikyacchi Jankushon, is a bizarre comedy about policewomen who use gymnastics to defeat their enemies. This would set the tempo for Miike, whose filmography would become utterly unpredictable, going from lighthearted children’s films such as Ninja Kids!!! to musical comedies in The Happiness of the Katakuris to poetic period pieces like Sabu.
Creating a genre of films that breathes with his own eccentric personality, his films have gone on to inspire some of the most original directors of modern cinema, including Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch and many more.
However, when it comes to his own style of cinema, Miike has cited the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Gosha, David Cronenberg, and Paul Verhoeven as just four of his favourite filmmakers, taking inspiration from challenging tales of gory science fiction as well as experimental cinematic features. It is from one of these celebrated directors that Miike chooses his favourite movie of all time.
Whilst one might think that Miike would choose a violent, experimental flick, the Japanese director instead opts for Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers as his all-time favourite. A sharp sci-fi satire on American foreign policy, the 1997 movie follows humans who are living in a fascist, militaristic future where they have waged war with giant alien insects who threaten to take over their way of life.
Speaking to The UpComing about his love for the films of Verhoeven, as well as his passion for similar filmmakers, Miike states, “I really love Verhoeven, Lynch and David Cronenberg. I appreciate their genius – although genius is such an easy word to use – but they have amazing ability and energy to create something original and share that with the world. I am not comparable to these people so I try not to envy or imitate them and instead do what I do and enjoy it”.
Fellow director Quentin Tarantino is a considerable fan of Miike too, with the director describing the Japanese filmmaker’s 1999 movie Audition as a “true masterpiece if ever there was one”. So enamoured was the American that he would later accept the opportunity to appear in Miike’s surreal western Sukiyaki Western Django, making a peculiar cameo appearance that remains undoubtedly iconic.
Check out the trailer for Takashi Miike’s favourite movie, Starship Troopers, below.