With his masterpiece Hana-Bi (1997), golden Lion in Venice, but, paradoxically, successful, modest, Takeshi Kitano has finally become a film director considered in his country. Adept blending of genres, it launches with playfully in The summer of Kikujiro, comedy, offbeat, tender and cruel on the bottom of olibrius rejected by the company in japanese. Like a foot of nose at its audience.
The suspended time in which the action takes place in the film, and his art used to play the comedy in the atmosphere of the yakuza were already at the centre of works intense such as Sonatine (1993) and Kids Return (1996). But The SUMMER OF KIKUJIRO has this little something more, like a supplement of soul, a return to childhood, embodied by Masao, a young boy of 9 years, who goes in search of her mother with the help of a former yakuza, a little lose named Kikujiro. From this point of departure classic, ideal for reaching its arc narrative above a road movie, off-beat, Kitano hijacks the codes of the film of the yakuza which he has been made one of the great representatives to morph the thing into a work of burlesque, deep and intimate. With a lightness that some blame, forgetting the passage of some previous works (A Scene at the Sea, Getting Any?), Kitano works here the contours of a family movie without departing from its style and its thematic the usual.
With its unusual characters, most of the time, the iconoclasts, The SUMMER OF KIKUJIRO offers a beautiful reflection on japanese society. Confusing, the film is a getaway off the beaten path, a form of truancy for all those who wanted to confine the developer in the yoke a bit too narrow for the film of-a-kind and occasionally violent. Less desperate than Sonatine (1994), Kitano offers a new field of improvisations and digressions he was particularly fond of. His face paralyzed thus enables him to express (or not) number of emotions that we interpret as we see fit. Sad Clown with a gesture millimétrée and consummate art of timing, Kitano draws on his own father (who was called Kikujiro, into the abyss requires) to interpret the yakuza, not very smart but full of affection for this little guy who will prefer to call him Uncle.
“An event can be considered as a violence, by those who live in it, but for the viewer, it can be a comic.” (Takeshi Kitano)
This road trip full of hay and tricks multiplies the means of transport and is cut in the manner of a journal holiday signed small Masao and punctuated by the partition light of Joe Hisaishi. The film walks on a rope suspended above a too full of good feelings capable to liquefy on the spot a diabetic. In hands less refractory to the politically correct, the result would have been catastrophic. A torrent of marshmallow. Fortunately, the director avoids the trap of the facility. With its clever mix of comic repetition and exaggeration (or even outrageousness), Kitano looks at the absurdity of the world, his cruelty (the pervert, the discovery of the house) but also his humanity. Life becomes a vast playground as it will look differently depending on its point of view. With a sense of mounting elliptical in its storytelling fragmented and a total confidence in his stories he scribbled most of the time on a piece of paper before you give free rein to improvisation, the director escapes the climax dramatic scenes, the most often planted in compositions which are static, frames locked.
With The SUMMER OF KIKUJIRO, the cinema of Kitano took a break. Its apparent lightness is symbolized by the inability of Kikujiro to adapt to the world around it (swim, drive, and.) and the amazing encounters made during this initiatory journey no savings, no face, no bend, no crack. When Kikujiro observed from a distance his own mother in a nursing home, then we understand that the child lost in poorly of affection is not necessarily the obvious one. Not only that. And that in each of us, there is this melody and melancholy that points, on the surface and spreading like on a blotter. By managing to reverse the relationship of force and to distill the feeling without sentimentality, Takeshi Kitano was not despair as Hana-Bi , but was of the carbonaceous raw material of a cut diamond.
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• Achievement : Takeshi Kitano
• Screenplay : Takeshi Kitano
• Main actors : Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi
• Release Date : 1999
• Duration : 2h01min