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Japan, 1996 (MIFF 1997, Regional)

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Alternating between humour and irony, Takeshi Kitano's hard edged look at disaffect­ed youth follows the life of two high school fail­ures, Shinji and Masaru, and their fate in the unyielding system that is modern Japanese soci­ety. Shinji progresses from school bully to a mem­ber of the lower levels of the Yakuza, while Masaru drifts, almost by accident, into boxing. Other school mates are also trying to realise their dreams - two attempt a life in stand-up comedy, while another pair try a career as salesmen before descending into the grind of cab driving.

But it is to Shinji and Masaru that the narra­tive keeps returning as both struggle to prevail, having slowly realised the difference between teenage expectations and the reality of the adult world. Numerous peripheral, though fully round­ed, characters appear along the way and there is a touching romantic subplot, but despite the humour and eccentric detours, Kitano's depic­tion of the hopelessness and lack of choice fac­ing Japanese youth is powerfully conveyed right up to the bittersweet final sequences.

See also...


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Fans of Takeshi's two films prior to this (Violent Cop and Boiling Point) must have had their expectations confounded! After his relentless explorations of renegade cops and pitiless Yakuza, to come ... More »


... ... 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 ... More »


In Sonatine writer/director/editor/star 'Beat' Takeshi consolidates his position as the most original, idiosyncratic and poetic exponent of the gangster film working anywhere in the world today ... More »


"As violent, amoral and misanthropic as a Jacobean play... arguably [Kitano's] best film in a decade." - Hollywood Reporter ... Legendary director Takeshi Kitano (Hana-Bi, MIFF 1998) returns to the ... More »


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 ... More »

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