July 10, 2010

Takeshis´ (2005) by Takeshi Kitano

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Kyono Kotomi, Kishimoto Kayoko, Osugi Ren, Terajima Susuma (...)
Writers: Takeshi Kitano
Music: Horiuchi Senji
Production: Japan, 2005
Runtime:  108 minutes

Welcome back to Film Focus today I have the most challenging movie, Takeshis´. When I was making the list of movies for my blog, I knew this one was going to be hard to review. I been busting my brains out for the last three days on how to approach this movie but I think I finally find the way. So enough of the chip chap, let´s dive into one of the craziest film I ever seen.

Takeshis´ is a movie written, edited, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano and it´s the first movie of a surrealistic autobiographical trilogy (“Glory to the filmmaker!” and “Achilles and the Tortoise” are the others). The original idea for this movie was called Fractals and was conceived as Kitano was shooting Sonatine in 1993. However, as he commented the main idea to his producers they decided to pass this project because it would be a commercial disaster. Nevertheless, Kitano wanted to do this movie so after 11 years he changed a little bit the character, setting and plot. With all the new changed the producers accepted to make this ambitious project. The main ploy exposes the daily life of Beat Takeshi, a famous actor and film director that lives in the show business. On the other hand, we have a lookalike named Kitano how is a shy convenience store cashier that it’s trying to enter in the film industry as a actor but he gets rejected from all the auditions. After the main characters meet in a TV station the worlds of Kitano starts to merge with Beat Takeshi´s world, the result is a very surreal and strange world there every fantasy is possible. As both world shift we don’t know what is real and what´s not. As for the plot, that is pretty much it but the interesting thing in this film is the analysis that you can make of it. At the end of the movie, you are left with more questions than answers but that is the main idea of this movie as Kitano explained: “I want audience to come out of this film not nothing what to say or what to think”.

In the 2005 Cannes Festival, the movie was announced with a huge black banner with big red letters spelling “Takeshis´” and with smaller letters saying “500% Kitano – Nothing to add”. That was all the information that was given to the public so it’s understandable that people were skeptical as there were no synopsis, no cast list, and no trailers, not even in the Office Kitano web (Official Takeshi Kitano web). Shortly they released a trailer but people were confused as it only shown Kitano tap dancing on a railroad. Later the movie was protected in the 2006 Venice Film Festival and this is when the audience exploded. Some of them like the movie but others were angry with Kitano. The audience was clearly confused and frustrated about the movie. However, Kitano had warned them before as he asked the audience not to attempt to analyze the film but instead just to let go and feel the film. I couldn’t be more agree with this statement, the first time I saw it I was very confused but after watching it again I started to like the movie and every time I see it I understand more and more the work of Kitano. As a Kitano movie, this one is a masterpiece but for those who aren’t used to see his movies it will be hard to watch it, but you should definitely see this movie.

Now let´s talk about the main characters Beat Takeshi and Kitano, both of them have characteristics of the real Kitano but at the same time they are not like him, in fact these personas are amalgams between the real Kitano, and the image that people have of himas an actor/director. If we want to talk about how the movie was edited, the crossovers between reality and irreality were done in different ways. There is the Associative editing, after shooting a scene Beat, gets bothered by the heat of the lamps, which seems to get hotter and hotter, this goes on until the lamp becomes the image of the sun and it´s waking out Kitano who was dreaming he was Beat the director. Another is the Scene Internal editing, when Kitano enters a restaurant the owner is suddenly transform into the two actors who just previously have been to the same audition he attempted. The other is the Elliptic editing, there the movie begging and ends in a very similar way.

If we would like to categorize the movie I think this film is closer to “Dolls” because of the deconstructive narrative and elliptic editing but it’s also close to “Getting Any?” due to the extreme absurd and inventive jokes and gags. After watching it, for the third time I think this world that Kitano created in the closest thing to been in his head. Ok that all I have to say about Takeshis´, I could think more things but I really believe this is the kind of movies that everybody deserve to see and then comment about it. One thing is for sure you would love or hate this movie. For the next review, I have a little surprise, NOTYETUSEDNAME will be reviewing a movie with me so stay tuned.
By Sebastian Nadilo

[NOTE: All images used in this review are property of BANDAI VISUAL, TOKYO FM,  DENTSU, TV ASAHI, OFFICE KITANO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2005]

Trailer: Takeshis´ (2005)
Scene to see: --- Sorry, see the movie

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