Japan | 1999 | 121min | 35mm | COLOR | Drama | Musical
Summer vacation is the most anticipated time for most children but not for Masao who has never met his parents. As he stumbles on his mother’s address in a remote town, Masao sets out on a journey to find her. His kind neighbor conscripts her ex-yakuza husband to accompany him. Unfortunately, this profligate man is of no help to Masao as he gambles away all the money and takes away Masao’s pocket money. Despite the rough start, as their journey continues, they become intimate and develop a father-son-like relationship. This masterpiece is heart-warming and pleasant, a rarity in Kitano Takeshi’s rather violent filmography. Adding more warmth to the film and engraving it in our memory is Hisaishi Joe’s lighthearted and nostalgic music. His piano, which sounds like raindrops hitting lotus leaves, takes the most outstanding supporting role in the film.
Born in Tokyo, 1947, Kitano became involved in theater in the early 70s and under the pseudonym Beat Takeshi became one of Japan’s most famous comedians. He became famous in the West with a role in Oshima Nagisa’s < Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence>(1983). He made his directorial debut in 1989 with < Violent Cop>. His films include < Sonatine>(1993), < Kids Return>(1996), < Hana-Bi>(1997), < Kikujiro>(1999), < Zatoichi>(2003), and his latest < Kantoku Banzai>. He is also running his own film company, Office Kitano, which launched Tokyo Filmex in 2000.