Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the ... See full summary »
Another relentless study by Kitano of an artist with no talent who refuses to give up, this goes on far too long and bludgeons the viewer with its relentless picture of a helpless sycophant trying to become a success by imitating his betters or copying trends that have just gone out of style. There is a disconnect between the early passages of the artist as a boy, which are fable-like, haunting, and touching (but also droll and odd) and the segments of the artist as an adult and "old" man (when Kitano himself takes over), the latter being simply a series of conceptual put-ons. Throughout the film is hurt by its suggestion that art of limited merit has no merit at all; that a child artist wouldn't produce anything of interest. And its later scenes are increasingly brutal and macabre. Another example of Kitano's limits as an "auteur." His work is distinctive and persistent, but there is a coldness, even a cluelessness, about it that is unappealing. The Allociné critic rating of 3.0/70 is full of raves, showing Kitano's strong "auteur" status among the French. Seen in Paris in April 2010.
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