Turning out to promote "Brother" were director "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, stars Omar Epps and Claude Maki, and producers Masayuki Mori (of Office Kitano) and Jeremy Thomas, who has worked in the past with Nagisa Oshima and Bernardo Bertolucci. Filmed on two continents, "Brother" is easily Kitano's most ambitious film so far (logistically, if not stylistically; this is pretty much your average post-post-Tarantino hard-men-with-guns flick).

The lavish (by local standards) $12 million budget spent on it will demand a good showing internationally. Local audiences may prove a hard sell, however; there was a sparse media turnout for the press conference. Perhaps, unlike the French, the locals know Kitano all too well as a slap-head comedian to entertain his auteurist pretensions.

On the film's international profile: