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 Kikujirô no natsu [Kikujiro] 

What grade would you give this film?
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 Kikujirô no natsu [Kikujiro] 
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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:01 pm
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Post Kikujirô no natsu [Kikujiro]


Kikujiro is the official international title for Kikujirō no Natsu (菊次郎の夏, literally "Kikujirō's Summer"), a 1999 Japanese film starring, written, and directed by Takeshi Kitano. Its score was composed by Joe Hisaishi. The film was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Kikujiro tells the story of a young boy searching for his mother during his summer vacation. The film is mostly divided into smaller chapters, listed as entries in the boy's summer vacation diary. Kitano's inspiration for the character (not the film) was his own father, Kikujiro Kitano, a gambler who struggled to feed his family and pay the rent.

Similar to his earlier works Getting Any?, and A Scene At The Sea, Kitano references the yakuza only tangentially in Kikujiro, a departure from his work in famous crime dramas such as Sonatine and Hana-bi. Aimed at the whole family, the film was allegedly inspired by The Wizard of Oz with the basic premise being a road trip. Kitano's familiar elements and locales are present: drawings, vignettes, the seaside, and angels. Although the plot is composed largely of sad events, the film often has a light-hearted atmosphere, achieved mostly through Kitano's character and his somewhat bizarre encounters.


Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:45 am
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Post Re: Kikujirô no natsu [Kikujiro]
It might be my favourite Kitano so far. I'm not sure. It's definitely a lot lighter and funnier than the previous ones I've seen (Sonatine + Hana-bi), I just don't know if that makes it better or not.

I'm not really a huge fan of Kitano's abstract sensibilities, but I felt they worked well for this type of story. Telling yakuza (Japanese gangster) tales via his means? Not my cup of tea. But telling this kind of buddy comedy/road movie/coming of age story? Works a lot better. The whimsical, almost fantastical images and characters and events suit the narrative better, as do Kitano's trademark bright colours, abstract paintings, and incessantly catchy scores.

It's also well-staged, with a few brilliant "impossible shots", and very funny, harking back to Kitano's comedic roots. I definitely had a lot of fun watching it. I'm just not sure how artistic it is. As with all of Kitano's works so far. He's not really a director for me.

Still, good movie.

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Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:45 pm
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