is a 2002 Japanese film
written, edited and directed by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano
. A highly stylized art film
is a departure for Kitano, who normally makes gangster films
, and unlike most of his other films, he does not act in it. The film has been praised for its cinematography
) and features costumes by Yohji Yamamoto
The film features three primary sets of characters, each within their own distinct story:
- A young man (Matsumoto, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) who rejects his engagement to his fiancée (Sawako, played by Miho Kanno) to marry the daughter of his company's president. When his former fiancée attempts suicide, he takes her out of the hospital she is taken to and they run away.
- Another young man (Nukui, played by Tsutomu Takeshige), who is obsessed with the pop-star Haruna (played by Kyoko Fukada), and blinds himself when she is involved in a disfiguring car accident.
- An aged yakuza (Hiro, played by Tatsuya Mihashi), who tries to meet the girlfriend from his youth (played by Chieko Matsubara).
These stories do have some incidental visual cross-over with each other in the film, but are mostly separate. The first story is the one the film centres around. The film leads into it by opening with a performance of Bunraku theatre, and closes with a shot of dolls from the same. Because the rest of the film itself (as Kitano himself has said) can be treated as Bunraku in film form, the film is quite symbolic. In some cases, it is not clear whether a particular scene is meant to be taken literally. The film is also not in strict chronological order, but there is a strong visual emphasis on the changing of the seasons and the bonds of love over the progression of time (Matsumoto and Sawako spend most of the film physically connected by a red rope).
The film has positive scores in review aggregator websites. Rotten Tomatoes
gives the film 75%, with 36 reviews. Metacritic
gives it 71 out of 100, with 16 reviews.