Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo in 1947. He entered show business as a stand-up comic in 1972, and has become Japan’s foremost media personality. Kitano turned director in 1989 to make Violent Cop. Fireworks (Hana-bi) won the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival.
Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano
World-renowned filmmaker Takeshi Kitano initially became popular in his native Japan through his legendarily caustic alter ego, the comedian Beat Takeshi. Here in the United States, he is primarily known for innovating a stylish noir aesthetic admired by such directors as Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino. This collection of essays by Casio Abe, one of Japan’s preeminent cultural critics, examines both Kitano’s films and his Beat Takeshi persona, offering an incisive critique of the consumer culture that Kitano’s films and comedy both draw on and play against. It is the first book on Kitano’s work to be published in English.
“It is obvious that Takeshi is a great genius. When watching his films, one never knows what is around the corner. What is believed to be a straight line suddenly becomes a curving bend — it’s as if he’s in a deep, Zen-like meditation. If you watch his films more than once, you’ll discover even more layers of meaning in them. They are like works of modern art, just made with film, and it is important that they receive more recognition. I feel so much joy when watching his films; it is an honor to be one of his fans. I hope this book will bring to light the works of a true artist.”
— John Woo, director
“As an actor and a director, Takeshi Kitano is the most dynamic and fascinating Japanese cinema import of the past 15 years. This translation of Casio Abe’s in-depth study of his sometimes baffling oeuvre is a godsend for his non-Japanese speaking fans.”
— J. Hoberman, film critic The Village Voice
“Casio Abe’s double-sided portrait of *kamikaze* comedian and master director “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is as crafty and unpredictable as its subject: bullet-in-the-head funny one minute, gut-jabbingly sophisticated the next. A rare and compelling glimpse into the idiosyncratic world of contemporary Japanese Film Studies.”
— Chuck Stephens, Film Comment