‘Zatôichi’ is Takeshi Kitano’s best

[rating=3]Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michiyo Ookusu, Gadarukanaru Taka, Daigorô Tachibana, Yuuko Daike
Director(s): Takeshi Kitano
Writer(s): Screenplay by Takeshi Kitano, based upon the novels by Kan Shimozawa

Takeshi Kitano in 'Zatôichi'
Takeshi Kitano in ‘Zatôichi’

Zatôichi… aka The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi is a new vision of Akira Kurasowa’s feudal-Japan, samurai films with a little of Chicago or Moulin Rouge thrown into the mixture. Zatôichi is the story of an older swordsman who arrives in a small Japanese village overrun by opposing Samurai gangs fighting for control of the village at the same time that a pair of geisha girls comes to the town seeking revenge for the death of their family.

Zatoichi emerges as a big change from Kitano’s other works in that there is a departure from what is normally a very strong sense of reality in his films like Brother or Fireworks. This altered reality is most strongly seen in the use of digitally generated blood during the fight scenes but also carries through to a dance sequence at the end of the film. Zatoichi also marks a change in filmmaking for Kitano with the use of shorter, quicker shots instead of the longer, precisely framed moments that his previous films capture. Kitano places more concentration on the action of the fight sequences, drawing forth a real sense of physical destruction.

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