God Speed You! Black Emperor is an iconic documentary film that captures the unique lifestyle of a Japanese biker gang of the same name. Released in 1976, this black-and-white 16 mm classic is a fascinating 90 minutes long and was directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi.
The film follows the story of one member of the Black Emperors gang after he gets in trouble with the law. It also offers an insight into his relationship with his parents and how it has been affected by his outlaw status. This period in Japan’s history saw an increase in biker gangs known as Bōsōzoku and Godspeed You! Black Emperor reflects this intense subculture perfectly.
The title of the film has since inspired international post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who have been performing for over two decades now. Their music often draws on feelings evoked by the documentary, with its combination of societal anxieties and chaotic nature.
This incredibly distinctive movie was revolutionary at its time, offering a glimpse into a world that was both thrilling and dangerous to those outside it – while still being sympathetic to its protagonists. It’s no surprise then that it has remained such as cult classic all these years later.
If you want to find out more about the world of Bōsōzoku gangs and their impact on Japanese society, then watch God Speed You! Black Emperor today – you won’t regret it!