Takeshi Kitano - Kikujiro (2)
Not before I looked the movie up on IMDB did I realize that the reason the main character looked familiar was that I had just seen him in Zatoichi, playing the title blind swordsman. As with Zatoichi, Kitano wrote the script, directed and played the lead in Kikujiro, the odd tale of a summer vacation a young kid spends with Kikujiro, a smalltime crook and loudmouth with a good heart. The movie felt a bit too long, but that might in part have been due to the strangeness of it all. Most of what the main character did didn't make much sense to me emotionally, but not in the sense of it being written badly. Rather, all the relationships and communications here were partially opaque to me - in other words, adhering to strange conventions. Not knowing whether these are Kitano's conventions, or those of Japanese culture in general, I can but try and unravel the mysteries of a character who is very abusive and mean, yet respected and humoured by everybody except the tough criminals he runs into at a fair. Cultural mysteries aside, there are wonderful images and ideas here, and lots of little surprises.