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Japan 2005
Directed by
Takeshi Kitano
102 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


To appreciate this autobiographical, oneiric film that at times suggests a more macho version of David Lynch's questionings of identity and reality it is important to know that there are two Takeshi Kitano public personalities. One is Beat Takeshi, a stand-up comedian and television personality, and a hugely popular show business figure in Japan, the other, Takeshi Kitano, is a film director with a devoted cult/arthouse following, particularly on the European festival circuit.

Takeshis' is a richly eclectic multi-layered and some would say self-indulgent exploration of the director's experience of this dyadic and symbiotic phenomenon, manifesting Takeshi's usual preoccupations with sex and death and delivered with his characteristic sense of absurdity. The director appears as both personae, one a powerful media figure, the other, his doppelganger, an insignificant bit actor and convenience store clerk. Many auteur directors, from Jean-Luc Godard to Woody Allen, have made films that have delved into their roles as illusion-makers whose own lives have been absorbed into their work, but rarely has any used the opportunity in such a cathartic and at times disturbing way.

Probably best appreciated by those familiar with the director's earlier films, particularly those in which he stars, this film will frustrate anyone expecting a linear narrative but delight those with a taste for the logic of dreams. KItano also gives an extended appearance to The Stripes, the 4 man dance troupe who made such an impression in the grand finale of the director's Zatoichi:The Blind Swordsman (2003).




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