Clown Prince Of All Cinema

December 26, 2005 at 11:00 am (J-Movies, Kitano Takeshi)

Takeshi KITANO

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“For my money, only two directors alive today consistently produce films that I consider flawless: Scorsese and Bito…”

~ 72HW

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Into a very poor Tokyo family on January 18th, 1947 came a boy who would be plagued with hardship, self doubt and detached indifference even after becoming a household name, loved by millions all over Japan. First winning fame as a stand-up comedian, then a wild TV host and finally for violent Yakuza films he directed and starred in – the meteoric rise of “Beat” Takeshi would nearly come crashing down. In 1994 a drunken motorbike ride found its end wrapped around a rail-road barrier, seriously injuring the star and paralyzing the right side of his face. Many predicted he would never again return to the spotlight, but from the introspective convalescence which followed, ‘Bito’ would emerge utterly transformed.

Infused with intricate symbolism and singular subtext, the films he began to make would instantly transcend all previous accomplishments and earn prestigious, winning nods from Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Tokyo film festivals among many others. Perhaps more importantly the sweeping vision and stunning beauty he found within himself resonated with movie goers around the globe – many of whom openly worship the man they have lovingly proclaimed Kitano: God Of Cinema

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Gaijin Otaku GundanCinema Detachment Must-See Kitano List:

Titles marked with ’ *’ will be reviewed here in the somewhat near future
Titles marked with ’
# feature Kitano as both Director and Actor

As Director

Zatôichi (2003) * #
aka Takeshi Kitano’s Zatoichi

Dolls (2002) *

Brother (2000) * #

Kikujirô no natsu (1999) * #
aka Kikujiro

Hana-bi (1997) * #
aka Fireworks

Kidzu ritan (1996) *
aka Kids Return

Minnâ-yatteruka! (1995) * #
aka Getting Any?

Sonatine (1993) * #
aka Sonachine

Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi (1991) *
aka A Scene at the Sea

3-4x juugatsu (1990) * #
aka Boiling Point

Sono otoko, kyobo ni tsuki (1989) * #
aka Violent Cop
aka Warning: This Man Is Wild

As Actor

Izo (2004)
Dir. by Miike Takashi

Batoru rowaiaru (2000)
aka Battle Royale
Dir. by Kinji Fukasaku

Gohatto (1999)
aka Taboo
Dir. by Nagisa Oshima

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)
aka Senjou no Merii Kurisumasu
Dir. by Nagisa Oshima

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2 Comments

  1. G said,

    What’s the name of the new movie he’s working on (or maybe it’s already done/released in Japan)? Something about dual characters where one is an regular guy aspiring to be Takeshi, and one is the real deal?

  2. gogblog said,

    Kitano’s new flick named “Takeshis'” has been playing the festival circuit over the past few months and indeed he plays two different versions of himself in much the way you describe above. Needless to say I am eagerly awaiting a copy to plop in my DVD player despite the fact it’s is getting some mixed reviews from festival critics thus far.

    A very cool trailer is on line and available here:

    http://www.office-kitano.co.jp/takeshis/

    It’s not subtitled of course, so just in case you’re wondering what the main Japanese text is saying, the general idea is ‘This Fall – The Veil Is Lifted’

    A Japanese R2 English subtitled DVD will be available on April 7, 2006 through http://www.YesAsia.com who, by the way, are currently taking pre-orders on the title.

    And finally, here’s a link to a festival review posted on TwitchFilm.net in case you might want to have a go:

    http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/003480.html

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