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The Cinema of Takeshi Kitano

The Cinema of Takeshi Kitano: Flowering Blood

Sean Redmond
Series: Directors' Cuts
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Cinema of Takeshi Kitano
    Book Description:

    The Cinema of Takeshi Kitano: Flowering Blood is a detailed aesthetic, Deleuzian, and phenomenological exploration of Japan's finest currently-working film director, performer, and celebrity. The volume uniquely explores Kitano's oeuvre through the tropes of stillness and movement, becoming animal, melancholy and loss, intensity, schizophrenia, and radical alterity; and through the aesthetic temperatures of color, light, camera movement, performance and urban and oceanic space. In this highly original monograph, all of Kitano's films are given due consideration, including A Scene at the Sea (1991), Sonatine (1993), Dolls (2002), and Outrage (2010).

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85023-0
    Subjects: Film Studies, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Becoming Lost in Tokyo
    (pp. 1-15)

    I will begin this monograph by way of a detour of sorts: the story of my becoming lost on the streets of Tokyo, a cine pilgrim in search of Takeshi Kitano. I will define the cineaste pilgrim as the film fan that goes in search of the art and artist they most admire and who has left an enigma or legacy of some kind for them to discover. The cineaste pilgrim may also be captivated by a ‘purer’ phenomenological desire to find experiential truth in the great art, artist or star they go in search of. The cineaste pilgrim who...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Time, Space and Whatever
    (pp. 16-36)

    A number of authors have suggested that one can trace developments and transformations in Kitano’s film work as if there is a certain formal and thematic trajectory to his output. The critical periodisation of his films, linear in approach, is often accompanied by a complaint that there has been a decline and a selling out, with Kitano becoming more mainstream and conventional in his aesthetic choices and arrangements. Kitano has himself suggested that his films can be grouped into three periods (see Jacobs 1999), with his motorcycle accident in 1994 (in which he was seriously injured) providing the catalyst or...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Flowering Blood
    (pp. 37-56)

    Intermittent bursts or squirts of physical and sexual violence mark much of Kitano’s filmwork, as they do a great deal of cult Japanese film consumed in the West. While the violence is not as graphic or relentless as that found in the films of, for example, Miike Takashi, the body count is high and their ruination a decidedly bloody affair. Bottles are smashed against heads, eyeballs slashed open, brains blown out, and swords and knives penetrate skin and body parts. Kitano violence is often quick (even when shot in slow-motion), immediate, and yet the moment after the body falls is...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Intense Alterity
    (pp. 57-71)

    It is the complex question of Otherness as it manifests in Kitano’s oeuvre that is the concern of this chapter. As I will go on to argue, this alien Other is an exterior force, found outside the parameters of normal life – in marginal spaces, oblique sub-cultures, and in individuals marked as strange. It is also a local and interior manifestation, found within one’s self, and in the ‘home’ spaces and familiar cultures that one is wedded to or born out of. In a Kitano film, the exterior alien Other is not, however, left as an imagined or lived point of...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Starring Kitanos
    (pp. 72-85)

    Takeshi Kitano/Beat Takeshi occupies a vexing position when it comes to the question of stardom and celebrity. As film-art auteur and troubled multi-talented genius, ortensai, he is a feted, auratic figure of fame. As film star Beat Takeshi he is typed to play certain explosive roles tinged with pathos and melancholy and when these roles are circumnavigated, this ‘problematic fit’ extends the semiotic and affective reach of his star image. As game-show host he is a television personality or celebrity, more ordinary and immediate than extraordinary and lasting, to paraphrase John Ellis’s (2007) problematic distinction between the film star...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE This is the Sea
    (pp. 86-97)

    In this chapter I explore the way that Takeshi Kitano employs the sea and the shoreline, and the qualities of water, to explore questions of loss and belonging, and new becomings. In a literal and metaphoric sense, when his (male) characters go to the beach, or end up at the water’s edge, they die and are re-born again, the mythic qualities of the sea heralding their transformation and guiding or sealing their fate. In a Takeshi Kitano film the sea and the shoreline are very often the conjoining locations where the social and existential crises of gender, tradition and belonging...

  10. CONCLUSION: Standing Outside Office Kitano
    (pp. 98-102)

    Since the 2005 release ofTakeshis, the first in a trilogy of films that consciously self-reflected on Kitano’s own role as a film director and actor-star, and the process of filmmaking itself, Kitano has arguably been in the process of further disintegrating, multiplying his personas in a violent process of self-rejection and refusal to conform. Kitano’s own self-loathing and suicide wish manifests itself in number of ways. In this trilogy of ‘creative destructions’ his own status as a director-artist and television star is criticised and assaulted through narratives where his art fails him, his stardom kills him, and reinvention leads...

  11. POSTSCRIPT: I Welcome the Pain of it Already
    (pp. 103-108)

    In an interview at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, whereOutragewas in competition, Kitano responded to a question about him supposedly wanting the audience to feel the pain in the film by saying the following:

    While I was writing this script and while I was shooting, my intention was that all the violence should look as painful as possible because that’s how it is in real life. Violence is a painful thing. (Jahn 2011)

    He goes onto connect the inherent pain of violent action with comic reaction, suggesting that the violence in the film is often comical, and therefore...

    (pp. 109-112)
    (pp. 113-118)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 119-120)