In Japan in the 1960s and ’70s, gangster films about the notoriously ruthless yakuza, branded for life with full-body tattoos, were hugely popular—especially among young wannabe rebels—for their dramatic tales of chivalry, revenge, and violence. Reviving some of the classics from that period, Asia Society presents its new series, Gamblers, Gangsters, and Other Anti-Heroes: The Japanese Yakuza Movie, with screenings every Thursday through April 17. Tonight’s film, Hoodlum Soldier, directed by master filmmaker Yasuzo Masumura, concerns a tough-guy army recruit with a mobster background who, naturally, doesn’t take orders well. Next week, catch Red Peony Gambler, in which the hero who battles the yakuza is played by a sword-fighting woman, the lovely Junko Fuji.
March 20-April 17, 7 p.m., 2008