Film Reviews

Glory to the Filmmaker! Takeshi Kitano

Rating - 7/10

It's a pleasure to peek into the cognitive process of Takeshi Kitano, famous Japanese painter, actor author poet and director, as he jests at his own creativity in Glory to the Filmmaker! In a movie of self-centered analysis and introspection, Kitano delivers a few laughs along with an entirely sarcastic view of himself and film making worldwide.

The comedy pays homage to his life work, and crosses a broad range of filming styles common to Japanese film. There's the gangster movie, manzai comedy, J-horror, samurai sword-fighting, romance and sci-fi, each presented as though they were past ideas that eventually flopped. The persistent gag is a metal/paper dummy used as Kitanos' double in physically jeopardizing scenes. During these scenes the rest of the cast notices who's getting the better treatment while amusingly performing the stunts themselves.

He consistently includes himself in his movies as the main character, and makes further satire of his work by defying the accusation that he only makes movies of one genre, gangster flicks. It is a fact that in his earlier work he mostly portrayed the role of the gangster boss or die-hard Samurai. Consequently, in Glory to the Filmmaker! there is a ridiculous contrast in characters, with unusual roles like a drunken wife-beater, an impotent bodyguard and blind painter. One captivating aspect of his directing is how he makes action seem more authentic. He is known to shoot only one take, so as to take advantage of spontaneous events.

In 2007, the Venice Film Festival introduced a new award: the Glory to the Filmmaker Award, which was named after Kitanos's film. He was also its first recipient. This movie is a perfect introduction to the work of Takeshi Kitano, and sheds light into the way a mind like his works. His filmography is extensive: Zatōichi, Dolls, Violent Cop and Brother are already widely acclaimed masterpieces, and are all highly recommended.