Scenes by the Sea: Takeshi Kitano (2000)

TV Special  -   -  Documentary
7.4
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First major English-language documentary profile of the cult Japanese actor/director, Takeshi Kitano. Featuring interviews with many of his regular contributors and colleagues, the film ... See full summary »

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Title: Scenes by the Sea: Takeshi Kitano (2000– )

Scenes by the Sea: Takeshi Kitano (2000– ) on IMDb 7.4/10

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First major English-language documentary profile of the cult Japanese actor/director, Takeshi Kitano. Featuring interviews with many of his regular contributors and colleagues, the film explores Kitano's rise from working-class poverty to superstar of Japanese radio, TV, comedy and journalism, and follows the making of his US-Japanese gangster film, 'Brother'. Written by Anonymous

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Works as a general introduction to Kitano but doesn't have much beyond that
2 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Featured on the Brother DVD, this documentary is a bit like the film itself in how it was planned to be an introduction for a wider audience to Kitano who is still very much a cult figure in the West even if he is very well known in Japan. As such the documentary is quite interesting in the way it provides a general summary of the man and his career but will not stand up for those looking for a more intelligent or insightful look at his work.

I was somewhere in the middle when I watched this because I was aware of Kitano from many sources but was also just starting to watch his films again having realised recently that I had not seen many of them and those that I had I had not seen for over a decade. So for me the film should have worked better than it did but it was still only reasonably interesting. The problem is in the promotional nature of the documentary because this is what it is all about and it does stifle any specifics or discussion. As a result we get a heavy (and typically American) narration over clips of the film and also some talking head contributions that don't say a great deal. The film has access to Kitano himself but they don't make the best of it. He is asked to discuss things at a basic level and, while this is still interesting, the voice-over translation was annoying and has the effect of putting the man's words "behind" the words of the narrator, which is not a great feel.

Scenes by the Sea was designed to be a basic introduction to Kitano for western audiences and in this narrow aim I suppose it succeeds. Problem is that even those coming to it on this level will be looking for it to gradually do more as it goes on but instead it seems content to stay at the general level and never draw much from the interviews, events and themes. Worth seeing for a very general introduction to Kitano but just don't expect it to be any good beyond this.


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