Beat Takeshi is back with the underworld
Keen eyes on Japan's struggle for power
"If this film is not a success, Kitano said yesterday in Cannes, I will go back to the non-violent genre again! My film directorial career has been nothing but repetition of one failure after another! But for me the film ended up not too bad and I definitely think it's a controversial movie."
"Ah, the walkout. Nothing more fires the heart than the sight of a film festival attendee storming theatrically out of the auditorium, Irish Times writes. "Ouch! Give me a break, Beat!"
Underboss Kato (Tomokazu Miura) ticks off subsidiary boss Ikemoto (Jun Kunimura) for being too close with lesser, outsider gang, Murase. Since Ikemoto has made a pact of brotherhood with Murase, he asks another subsidiary head Otomo (Kitano, aka Beat Takeshi) to do the dirty work of roughing up Murase. Their actions trigger a vicious circle of vendettas and turf wars that also implicate a corrupt cop and an African ambassador.
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The film is structured as a series of violent confrontations between members of different clans trying to humiliate each other. And what violence it is : Kitano gives us snappily choreographed set pieces ranging from the classic gunshots to the heart to more gruesome bloodbaths involving chopped fingers, slashed faces, smashed teeth, crushed tongues, and other varieties of brutally delivered corporal punishment. These sequences are interspersed with scenes of pokerfaced clan members gathering to re-strategise and admonish each other for either going too far or not far enough in their retribution.
- Outrage is Kitano's first yakuza film in about 10 years after his acclaimed Brothers, with the veteran director having pursued a range of other movie genres since then. 63-year-old Kitano plays an old-fashioned yakuza tough guy Otomo. He is the man the bosses count on for executing the dirty work. "I got fed with me people asking me questions about violence," he told a press conference marking Outrage's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday. "So I started making non-violent movies."
- Takeshi Kitano has said that his latest yakuza movie Outrage marks his controversial return to the genre. The director, who has not made a film about Japanese gangsters since 2000's Brother, told the Cannes press conference for the movie that the time was right to come back to violent filmmaking. Kitano said: "I thought it would be as good a time as any to tackle the violent film again. But if I were to repeat the same old, same old, it wouldn't be too exciting, it would just be boring. "I wanted to make something new, I wanted to make something evolved from my earlier movies. That's why I included a lot of dialogue exchanges which I didn't have in my earlier movies and I incorporated a very straightforward, simple story-line about the yakuza." He quipped: "So if this film is not a success I will go back to the non-violent genre again! "My film directorial career has been nothing but repetition of one failure after another! But for me the film ended up not too bad and I definitely think it's a controversial movie.
- Still, the picture of the Japanese underworld that Kitano paints is about settling scores, elaborate body tattoos, corrupt police and cheap broads. Kitano said he first puts together the ideas for portraying the violence before he starts writing the story. "It's like the movie's skeleton. Then I add the story later," he said. Speaking at Monday's press conference, Kitano admits that his film is likely to be controversial. But he also insisted that he is no expert on yakuza. Either way, Kitano's movie depictions of yakuza society have brought the Japanese director international fame. His 15th movie, Outrage represents Kitano's second appearance in Cannes' top category. Kitano first burst onto the movie scene in 1989 with Violent Cop with his subsequent movies establishing him almost as a cult filmmaker. In 1997, his seventh film Hanabi (Fireworks) won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, the Golden Lion. Six years later, Kitano's story about a blind former samurai Zatoichi won another top prize in Venice, the Silver Lion.
Sources: News wires, Irish Times, Digital spy, Earthtimes, Kyodo, Hollywood reporters, WSJ, Le Figaro, Reporter's notes.