November 18, 2005


Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi KitanoJapanese film critic, Casio Abe, has just made his book on Takeshi Kitano available in English. Called "Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano" this sexy-looking paperback approaches Kitano's career by contrasting his television career and public image (Beat Takeshi) with his image as a film director and film actor (Takeshi Kitano).

Really exhaustive, Abe's book is also a little exhausting. Full of details, it is also full of passages like the following: "As if to recall VIOLENT COP, which was so much of a 'walking film', SONATINE begins with a scene of Murakawa and Ken walking side by side down the street. However, one gets a completely different impression here than from VIOLENT COP. As I suggested earlier, VIOLENT COP's walking scenes completely strip bare the body of the actor Beat Takeshi. Walking is part of the propulsive force that drives VIOLENT COP forward. In SONATINE, on the other hand, the effect of the initial walking scene could be summarized as 'floating'. In this opening scene, the frame of the film cuts of Murakawa and Ken's feet so that they lie outside the audience's field of vision. This eliminates the sense of power we get from the scenes in VIOLENT COP where the characters tread firmly on the earth."

This can get to be a little much at times, unless you're someone who grooves on Film Studies.

On the other hand, the book is filled with excerpts from Kitano interviews and lots of minor details that fill out the picture of the director who doesn't have nearly enough written about him in English. Flipping through the book you can find enough of this to graze on for a few hours at least. So if you're a Kitano head, and you want more details, this one's for you. For the uninitiated, however, you probably won't get much out of it.

You can buy the book here or read what the good folks at Office Kitano (the fansite) have to say about it here.

November 18, 2005 at 05:18 AM in Reviews | Permalink


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