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Sonatine

Takeshi Kitano

After Violent Cop and Boiling Point, Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine may come as a surprise. It has the same flat but far from uneloquent surface, the same emphasis on a world of startling, almost choreographed violence. But it is a much more reflective film dealing also in some of the humour the director specialised in when he appeared as a stand-up comic in Japan. Sonatine is unquestionably the film of the week – a yakuza epic that reminds one of the blank but powerful elegance of Jean-Pierre Melville’s recently revived Le Samourai. The reason it is such a strong film lies in its insisted on absolute simplicity and the control that gives the director to orchestreate its effects. It is not particularly violent film, but it is certainly a film about violence and about living fully only if we are prepared to die. Zen-like existentialism is a difficult concept again for the West but it’s central to this story fo not very admirable characters transcending their in life. Notably a Yakuza gangster (Beat Takeshi), weary of it all who is reluctantly sent off to Okinawa to settle a quarrel between two warring clans.

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