Takeshis Venice Surprise

Mark Nornes amnornes at umich.edu
Sun Sep 4 10:52:02 EDT 2005

 From Reuters:

Japan's Kitano surprises Venice with wacky new film

By Clara Ferreira-Marques

VENICE (Reuters) - Japanese cult director Takeshi Kitano baffled and 
enthralled Venice on Friday with the premiere of "Takeshis,"' a surreal 
send-up of his eclectic career which weaves together the lives of a TV 
celebrity and his lookalike.


The surprise addition to a list of 19 films vying for the Venice Film 
Festival's top Golden Lion prize is a bewildering jaunt from smoky 
mah-jong parlors and noodle bars to showdowns between gun-slinging 
yakuza gangsters.

Both the TV personality -- "Beat" Takeshi, the name he takes as an 
actor -- and the frustrated store attendant doppelganger, Takeshi 
Kitano, are played by the actor-director himself.

Cinema-goers are likely to be thrown off by Kitano's multiple personas 
and emerge confused from what the director himself describes as "a 
multi-layered Baumkuchen cake." But, he says with a smile, that is 
beside the point.

"I want the spectators to feel like they are in another dimension of 
reality. I don't want my audience to understand every detail," said 
Kitano, who won the Golden Lion in 1997 for his film "Hana-Bi," or 

"It's like one of my characters says, 'don't think too much, it's just 
a film'," he told Reuters.

The film borrows heavily from Kitano's gangster characters and scenes 
in earlier movies, from his debut "Violent Cop" to "Zatoichi," which 
won the Venice Silver Lion in 2003.

But this time, the bitter comedy is stronger than his customary bursts 
of violence.

Kitano says he hoped to use the film to close off the type of cinema 
that has made the prolific artist a cult name outside Japan, where he 
remains best known for his TV work.

"It is a funeral for the genres that I explored over the past dozen 
movies. In a sense, it is the last of a series," he said. "In Japanese, 
the title sounds like 'Takeshi's funeral'."

Now, the man who got his break as part of comedy duo "Two Beat," says 
he wants to have a go at the classics.

"After all, cinema has been around for more than a century. There are 
many great masters," said Kitano. "I feel like doing a very classical 
movie now, to challenge the giants." 
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