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Japan, 1991 (MIFF 1992, Spotlight Takeshi)

Director: Takeshi Kitano

The expectations set by Takeshi's previous two films were purposefully undone when he moved past American action films and com­pletely wrote out of the script his own distinc­tive persona. The result of his new-found independence is both surprising and consis­tent, and an unmistakable vindication of his versatility and command as a director.

The story here concerns the teenager Shigeru, who one day on his rounds as a garbage collector finds a ruined surfboard. With single-minded devotion he repairs it and starts to use it, all the while suffering the taunts and humiliation of his more adept peers. Like the characters of the earlier films, the apparent misfits get a chance to prove themselves, though the methods and conse­quences of this are less than expected.

In a manner that is ingenuous and power­fully affecting, the audience comes to realize that Shigeru and his girlfriend companion Takako are afflicted by a disability. The film refuses to patronize them, nor does it use them for easily arrived-at sentiment. With its relaxed pace, elliptical and hesitating denoue­ment, the film casts a haunting and mystifying spell that lingers long after the strangely enig­matic resolution. • Paul Kalina

See also...


Japan, 2004
Blood and Bones centres on Kim Sun-pei, a Korean migrant attempting to build a fortune in Japan. Contrary to his hopes, the Japan he encounters is a brutal world of discrimination and hard labour. Re… More »


Japan, 2005
Legendary Japanese director, actor and hardman, Kitano ‘Beat' Takeshi, puts the ‘gang' back into ‘doppelganger' with this hyper-real violation of the traditional rules of film form and biograph… More »


France, 2008
“I love the Yakuza… I see them as the heirs to the samurai spirit.” - actor Sonny Chiba ... Literally translated as ‘good-for-nothing', Japan's criminal brotherhood - the Yakuza - underw… More »


Japan, 1989
... ... Takeshi makes his directorial debut in what on the surface at least is a standard 'rene­gade cop' genre film. Takeshi plays Detective Azuma, the department's 'wild-card' whose unorthodox … More »


Japan, 1990
... ... In Japan, Takeshi Kitano currently advertises a product called 'Jolt Cola'. Aside from his endorsement, the selling point is that it boasts twice the caffeine of regular colas. For once, star… More »

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