Kikujiro by Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Yûko Daike | 43396456044 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Kikujiro

Kikujiro

5.0 6

Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Yûko Daike

     
 

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After the success of Hana-Bi (1997), Takeshi Kitano, or 'Beat' Takeshi, as he is often called, made another film in which once again he is the director, screenwriter, editor, the leading player and the talent behind the art work. Unlike many of his films about the violent lives of the yakuza, Kikujiro is a bittersweet road movie about two characters who

Overview

After the success of Hana-Bi (1997), Takeshi Kitano, or 'Beat' Takeshi, as he is often called, made another film in which once again he is the director, screenwriter, editor, the leading player and the talent behind the art work. Unlike many of his films about the violent lives of the yakuza, Kikujiro is a bittersweet road movie about two characters who have very little in common. Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) is a sensitive nine-year-old boy who has to spend his summer vacation alone with his grandmother. Soccer practice is suspended and all his friends are away at the beach. In his boredom, he decides to look for the mother he has never met; with only a photo, an address, and very little money, this does not seem like a good idea. A friend of his grandmother's volunteers to send her husband along. The problem is that the irresponsible, loudmouthed, and greedy Kikujiro (Kitano), a low-level yakuza, is hardly the ideal companion for a child. He does not even like children. Starting with the excursion to the cycle races, this mismatched couple goes through a fanciful journey full of oddball characters and pleasant surprises. The best surprise of all is to discover how much they have in common. By the end of the journey, sullen Masao gains the sense of magic that had been missing from his life. As for Kikujiro, he now has a better understanding of who he is and what has been wrong with his life, although it takes a child to make him realize this. Kitano has declared that his own father, who passed away when he was a little boy, was the inspiration for the character of Kikujiro. The man was a house painter, carpenter, and master of traditional Japanese dance, but also a gambler who let his family down on many occasions. Another Japanese director, Makoto Shinozaki of Okaeri fame, has made Jam Session, a feature-length documentary on the making of Kikujiro. In competition at the 52nd Cannes Film Festival, 1999.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Fresh from the critical success of his mortality-riddled Hana-Bi, Takeshi Kitano made his first overt family movie Kikujiro, which wades strangely into the stream of life. A road film of sorts, it takes place over a summer's vacation, when sullen nine-year-old Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) pines for his mother, who works in a distant part of Japan. He ventures off to find her, accompanied by Kikujiro (portrayed by Kitano), a crotchety former yakuza who accepts the charge at his wife's behest. In Kikujiro, the sense of timing is off balance (weeks or minutes or days may pass from one cut to the next) and framings are plaintive and weird, with visuals as elaborately composed as a comic book spread. This highly unusual feature resembles Frank Tashlin's Geisha Boy in its offbeat, sentiment-speckled manner, yet remains uniquely Kitano in its execution.
All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
For Western audiences familiar with Takeshi Kitano's renowned yakuza sagas, Kikujiro, a buoyant surrealist road movie will be something of a surprise. Fearing that he would be type-cast abroad as a director of gangster flicks, Kitano skews most of the two-fisted motifs of his previous work and directs a film that consciously recalls The Wizard of Oz. The result is Kitano's most mainstream film since his sex-farce Getting Any, while at the same time being one of his most experimental movies. Kitano's best known works, Sonatine and Hana-Bi, brilliantly present a world infused with jarring violence and existential sadness edged with sentimentality. In this film, the violence is almost completely absent from the film, though sadness and sentimentality is here in abundance. With his trademark concision, the film elegantly sets up Masao's feelings of loneliness and isolation in a matter that echoes that of the Italian Neorealists. Yet once on the road, time and realism goes out the window; the viewer is left unclear as to whether the events in the film are unfolding over a of couple days, weeks, or months. Though no one seems to be carrying baggage, characters somehow manage to assemble delightfully-ludicrous costumes. The plot itself is a series of comic diversions highlighting Kikujiro abrasive buffoonery, built around Masao's search for his mother. When that quest goes sour, Kikujiro manages to fashion increasingly bizarre and funny scenarios, much of which seems drawn straight from Kitano's popular late-night comedy show in Japan, in an effort to dull Masao's rejection. Just as the comic flourishes in Hana-Bi added pathos and emotional depth to that film, the wild comedy of this film adds resonance to the boy's pain and loss. Sentimental and sad, self-indulgent and often hilarious, Kikujiro is an interesting and entertaining yarn by one of cinema's most distinctive voices.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2015
UPC:
0043396456044
Original Release:
1999
Source:
Sony Pictures Home
Sales rank:
17,245

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Takeshi Kitano Kikujiro
Yusuke Sekiguchi Masao
Kayoko Kishimoto Kikujiro's wife
Yûko Daike Masao's mother
Kazuko Yoshiyuki Masao's grandmother
Beat Kiyoshi Actor
Great Gidayu Fat Biker
Rakkyo Ide Biker's friend
Nezumi Imamura Actor
Fumie Hosokawa Actor
Akaji Maro the pervert
Daigaku Sekine Actor

Technical Credits
Takeshi Kitano Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Kazuhiro Furukawa Associate Producer
Joe Hisaishi Score Composer
Senji Horiuchi Sound/Sound Designer
Norihiro Isoda Art Director
Fumio Iwasaka Costumes/Costume Designer
Masayuki Mori Producer
Yoshinori Ota Editor
Hiroshi Shimizu Asst. Director
Hiroshi Shimizu Asst. Director
Katsumi Yanagishima Cinematographer
Takio Yoshida Producer
Takefumi Yoshikawa Casting

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