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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...


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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