The Great Sasuke
2015, Mikiko Sasaki, 69 min. PG
Canadian premiere- director present for intro and Q&A!
As the founder of Michinoku Pro-Wrestling, the masked wrestler known as The Great Sasuke brought Mexican-style lucha libre to Japan in the 1990s and became an international star, known as a showman with a flair for crazy ideas and dangerous moves. Mikiko Sasaki’s documentary finds Sasuke at a turning point in his career, considering a return to politics (he once served as the first masked member of the Iwate Prefectural Diet) and dealing with the effects on his body of 20 years in the ring. A warm portrait of a true individualist, The Great Sasuke also manages to touch on the challenges being married to a risk-taking athlete, the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in Tohoku, and the travails of a local politician on the campaign trail, offering an unconventional slice of life in Northern Japan.
image © Jonathan Schwarz
Mikiko Sasaki is a documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. She grew up in Morioka, Iwate, the same town The Great Sasuke is from. Her award winning short documentary, Story of a Businesswoman, screened at numerous film festivals around the country, and was broadcast on MNET in 2011. She also works as a documentary and commercial editor in San Francisco Bay Area, and is currently developing a few documentary projects.