Japan Auteur Kitano’s Latest Samurai Film Headed To Cannes

Japan Auteur Kitano's Latest Samurai Film Headed To Cannes

TOKYO (AP) — A new film by Takeshi Kitano, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival next month, is the story of an unheroic samurai who relentlessly portrays human greed, betrayal, and cruelty.

Kitano, who won the Golden Lion at the 1997 Venice Film Festival for his film Hana-bi, wanted to create a distinct period in "kubi" or "neck", referring to the traditional Japanese headboard.

"Most samurai films feature celebrities and don't focus on the sordid side of human existence or show how bad people have no interest in killing ordinary people," Kitano told reporters on Saturday.

The story follows the 16th century feud surrounding Oda Nobunaga, a powerful warlord who is well known in Japan but not very familiar to overseas audiences. But Shakespeare's plot is quite familiar.

The incredible battle scenes are reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa classics like Seven Samurai and Kagemusha, according to Takeshi Natsuno, president of Kadokawa, the company that makes Kubi.

Kitano, 76, began his career in Japanese vaudeville as a stand-up comedian under the stage name Beat Takeshi before becoming a star in TV shows and movies.

Speaking on stage at a hotel in Tokyo with the actors, Kitano said that his latest work combines the horrors of murder with the absurdity.

Kubi features an all-star cast, including Hidetoshi Nishijima, who marked Kitano's return to cinema from 2002's Doll, inspired by the traditional bunraku doll, and Ryo Kase, who starred in Kitano's Mayhem in the TV series Gangster.

Kitano also stars in the new film and wrote the screenplay based on his 2019 book.

Some of the more dramatic scenes in Kuby include large sets but are filmed in one or several smaller scenes. Kitano said this was intentional and noted that director Nagisa Oshima instructed him to stay away from close-ups in key scenes.

Kitano's first major role was in Merry Christmas Mr. Ōshima's Lawrence, a drama about a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II with David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto.


Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

first first movie |: Selected by MUBI

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