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Cannes Film Festival: 3 questions for Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano’s career is good enough for three. Beginning as a stand-up comedian in Tokyo strip clubs under the moniker Beat Takeshi, he rose to fame first on Japanese television, landing international hits Takeshi’s Castle , a slapstick physical game show that inspired an entire genre (It’s a Knockout,Wipeout).

After starring in a string of Japanese comedies, Kitano made her international film debut with a tough role Nagisa Oshima Merry Christmas to Mr. Lawrence , POW Camp Sergeant of and David Bowie. But Japanese viewers still see him as a funny figure on TV (Kitano recalls that when he watched Merry Christmas with Japanese viewers, he said “that moment My character came on screen and everyone in the theater laughed!”).

Determined to be a serious theater actor, he has contributed to his success by writing and directing films such as Violent Cop Create your own character(76), boiling point (1990) and Sonata

(1997): Crime thriller/comedy starring Kitano as deadpan gangster gangster or neo-noir cop.

Hana-bi of 1997 ) (aka Fireworks ), combines these tropes with a delicate romance – Kitano plays a retired police officer who, while carrying his dying wife Yakuza loan sharks – won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and established the director as one of Japan’s foremost modern filmmakers.

Most of his work since then has been gangster crime thrillers (Brother,Outrage Trilogy) and Art Drama(Kikujiro

, Dolls), but his greatest success came from 2023 with Zatoichi, adapted from the feature-length Japanese film and TV franchise about blind samurai.

At 76, Kitano shows no signs of slowing down. He recently relaunched Takeshi’s Castle

for Amazon Prime Japan and completed his 1989 first (“not my last movie,” he insists) movie. Kubi is a 16 century epic retroactive event surrounding the so-called In the Honnoji incident, a group of samurai attempted to assassinate the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga. The event that would shape Japanese history has long been a source of speculation and conspiracy theories about the motives of those involved.

Kitano talks to The Hollywood Reporter

at At the Cannes Film Festival, Kubi had a special out-of-competition screening.

You’ve had an amazing career: as a stand-up comedian, reality TV host, actor, director, singer and even. Looking back on all of this, your entire career, what are you most proud of?

Variety because I fail at one thing, then I’ll try the next thing, and And another thing, and then another thing so really, in retrospect, I have nothing to be proud of.

The first time I met you was through Takeshi’s Castle, but the first time I saw your movie was Hana-Bi, it shocked me. It also won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. What is your impression of that experience? How has the perception of you changed in Japan and internationally after you won the Golden Lion?

Well, right before that movie, I actually had a serious accident, a motorcycle car accident. People even wrote that I would never recover. But I made Hana-Bi

, took it to Venice, and won the Golden Lion, as you said. What’s interesting is what I’ve done, what I’m doing, kind of breaking away from the previous generation [of Japanese cinema] and trying to do new things. All of this is related to my accident. People are writing very negative things about me. Then I won in Venice, which turned everything upside down. It made me think “Oh, this is how authority works.” It’s not about me because I haven’t changed anything. Now I have some extra decorations, a prize, and suddenly they respect me. I remember thinking: This is a strange world.

Your new movie, Kubi, is Another samurai movie, but about a very specific and pivotal moment in Japanese history, the 16 th-century uprising against Warlord Oda Nobunaga. You spent a lot of time on the story, you researched the history, you even wrote a book. What is it about this particular story that fascinates you so much? The most interesting period for me is when the story happens. But more often than not, history is written by the people around these great, powerful figures, and it’s often not true or factional. Regarding the uprising, there are many different theories as to what actually happened. I studied it hard, then used my imagination to come up with a theory. Of course, scholars who watch it may say that’s not true. But I think most of what I’ve described is what actually happened. 2023



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