France bestows Legion of Honor on film director Takeshi Kitano

Oct 19, 2016

France bestows Legion of Honor on film director Takeshi Kitano

The French government has named Japanese film director Takeshi Kitano as a recipient of the Legion of Honor for his impact on contemporary arts, his office said Tuesday. Kitano, 69, will be named an Officier, the fourth-ranked honor in the L’ordre National de la ...

Takeshi Kitano and the men who watch women sleeping

Feb 24, 2016

Takeshi Kitano and the men who watch women sleeping

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An older man, a much younger woman and a mystery that surrounds their relationship — for the Japanese, it’s a familiar story. The woman doesn’t say much, letting her youthful allure and beauty do most of the talking. The man doesn’t say much either; ...

Takeshi Kitano's gang of nursing-home yakuza

Apr 29, 2015

Takeshi Kitano's gang of nursing-home yakuza

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Takeshi Kitano has had some of his biggest critical and commercial successes with gangster films, beginning with his 1993 international breakthrough “Sonatine” and continuing through to his 2012 hit “Outrage Beyond” (“Beyond Outrage”), which screened in competition at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. But ...

Japan's Academy Prizes — the fix is in?

Feb 25, 2015

Japan's Academy Prizes — the fix is in?

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Comedian, actor and director Takeshi Kitano had some scathing things to say about the Japanese film industry at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, where he was given a career achievement award. One target he singled out was the Japan Academy Prizes — the ...

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

Dec 3, 2014

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

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Who doesn’t love a listicle titled “(X) surprising things you never knew about (Y)”? What surprises me about a lot of commentary on the Japanese film industry — from insiders and outsiders alike — is how it substitutes judgment calls (usually of the “Japanese ...

Takeshi Kitano blasts domestic film industry

Oct 29, 2014

Takeshi Kitano blasts domestic film industry

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Rather than seeking bloody vengeance, Takeshi Kitano, director of yakuza films “Violent Cop,” “Outrage” and “Beyond Outrage,” expressed his frustrations with the domestic film industry with pointed comments at a recent talk event in Tokyo. One of Japan’s foremost filmmakers and TV personalities, Kitano ...

A quarter century of Japanese films in review

Sep 3, 2014

A quarter century of Japanese films in review

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In 25 years of reviewing Japanese films and interviewing Japanese filmmakers for this newspaper, I’ve written 1 million words, give or take a few. This is clearly something no normal person would do, but for me it beats working. The idea that writing about ...