6 user 22 critic

Zigeunerweisen (1980)

Tsigoineruwaizen (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery | 1 April 1980 (Japan)
A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.


Seijun Suzuki


Yôzô Tanaka (screenplay), Hyakken Uchida (novel)
17 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yoshio Harada ... Nakasago
Naoko Ôtani Naoko Ôtani ... Sono / O-Ine
Kisako Makishi Kisako Makishi ... Taeko Aochi
Akaji Maro
Kirin Kiki ... Kimi
Yuki Kimura Yuki Kimura
Nagamasa Tamaki Nagamasa Tamaki
Sumie Sasaki Sumie Sasaki ... Maid at a hotel
Shiro Yumemura Shiro Yumemura
Yuki Yonekura Yuki Yonekura
Rubi Enoshima Rubi Enoshima
Hikaru Benisawa Hikaru Benisawa
Tadaomi Watanabe Tadaomi Watanabe
Takashi Aida Takashi Aida
Yoshitomo Oda Yoshitomo Oda


A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

1 April 1980 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Zigeunerweisen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinema Plaset See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The mysterious, ghost-like voice that can be faintly heard on the soundtrack during the playing of Pablo de Sarasate's 1904 recording of his own 1878 composition, Zigeunerweisen (which gives this film its title), and which the film's characters comment upon at great length, is not a fabrication of the filmmakers. On the original recording, at about 3 minutes and 25 seconds, a voice can be heard speaking rapidly for about two seconds. The two main characters in the film have no idea what the voice is saying and it intrigues them. However, according to a biography of the violinist-composer Efrem Zimbalist Sr. (father of the famous film and television actor), Sarasate was actually "instructing his accompanist to cut the slow section" of the composition, presumably to accommodate the limited recording time of the disk. See more »

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User Reviews

Suzuki Returns
24 July 2017 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

A surreal period film following a university professor (Toshiya Fujita) and his eerie nomad friend (Yoshio Harada) as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

Director Seijun Suzuki was terminated from his contract with Nikkatsu Studios in 1968 for making "movies that make no sense and no money" (specifically "Branded to Kill") and was subsequently blacklisted. In the following years he conversed frequently with his crew at his home and continued developing ideas for new projects. Suzuki's blacklisting ended with the release of his critically and commercially unsuccessful 1977 film "A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness". But it was "Zigeunerweisen" that brought him lasting acclaim.

You might wonder, why does a Japanese film have a German title? Well, "Zigeunerweisen" (also known as "Gypsy Airs") is a musical composition for violin and orchestra written in 1878 by Pablo de Sarasate, based on themes of the Roma people. This composition provided the title and much of the soundtrack for Seijun Suzuki's film. Indeed, the concept of wandering is intrinsic to the plot.

But this is less about plot and more about dreamlike imagery. There are many strange visuals. Not outright bizarre, but some things bordering on performance art. One scene, for example, has two men buried in the sand beating each other with rods. Why is this necessary? It isn't, but is all a part of what makes the film memorable.

"Zigeunerweisen" was a surprise success in Japan, both commercially and critically; it took home the Japanese Academy Awards for best picture, director, and supporting actress, and the prestigious Kinema Jumpo awards for best director, film, screenplay, actress, and supporting actress. Suzuki was not just back, he was finally recognized as a real treasure. This success naturally lead to future films, and this became the first part of Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy, followed by "Kagero-za" (1981) and "Yumeji" (1991). Not sequels or a trilogy in a strict sense, they are each surrealistic psychological dramas and ghost stories linked by style, themes and the Taishō period (1912-1926) setting.

In North America, Kino International released a DVD edition of the film in 2006. It features a 25-minute interview with Suzuki discussing the making of the Taishō Roman Trilogy, a biography and filmography of the same, the theatrical trailer and a gallery of promotional material and photographs. The Arrow Video Blu-ray brings these features along for the ride. On top of that, they offer a high-definition presentation and a new introduction to the film by critic Tony Rayns.

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