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Original title
Running time
108 min.
Japan Japan
Takeshi Kitano
Katsumi Yanagishima
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Office Kitano / Bandai Visual Company / Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co. / DENTSU Music And Entertainment / TV Asahi
Comedy. Drama
Synopsis / Plot
Shortly after completing Sonatine, director Takeshi Kitano conceived of a film about an ordinary guy who enters an imaginary world inside his own head. This idea comes to fruition in Kitano's latest feature, Takeshis'. Kitano acts opposite himself, playing both the ordinary guy - also named Kitano - and the director's real-life alter-ego, TV and cinema star "Beat" Takeshi. He infiltrates the fascinating world of his own unusual celebrity enterprise and creates mesmerizing conceptual reverberations.

An extremely sophisticated venture into the house of mirrors that is life in show-biz, the film plays with both the cinematic archetypes impressed upon Kitano's unconscious - Fellini's The Clowns, for example - and the doppelganger his enormous popularity seems to have generated.

Five-hundred percent Kitano, Takeshis' follows the busy lives of Beat, the performer, and Kitano, a shy cashier at a convenience store. At times, their paths intersect; at others, they run parallel. Kitano, a wannabe actor who divides his days between frustrating auditions and creative daydreaming, drifts into a mysterious world of fantasy that comes to light in divergent aspects of Beat's real life and his violent onscreen persona.

Mah-jong parlours; movie sets; noodle shops run by stubborn, rancorous cooks; vast ocean beaches populated by yakuza, policemen and samurai: these form the backdrop to this off-beat sonata in which stray bullets, falling like stars, arc over the desires of would-be actors, shattering their dreams in fake rivulets of blood - or maybe bringing those very dreams to life.

Reality and visions of film scenes already shot (and even those yet to be captured on celluloid) play tag with each other in Kitano's unconventional, unique narrative. A dramatic comedy of repetitions, exaggerations and contrasts, Takeshis' violates rules about form and storytelling. Kitano - playing his twin roles with flawless ease and consummate skill - enters the sublime domain of cinema-within-cinema with the playfulness of a puer eternus - the eternal child abiding in all of us.
2005: Venice Film Festival: Nominated for Golden Lion
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