Kikujiro – A touching travel.

Kikujiro na natsu [ Summer of Kikujiro ]

Play this music in the background while reading this blog [ Oru effect dhaan ! ]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa0JAvjx05c

” After ‘Hana-Bi’, I couldn’t help feeling that my films were being stereotyped: So I decided to try and make a film no one would expect from me ” – Takeshi Kitano.

Once a creator reaches this idea, the next project would be one of his best. A creator has to disconnect from his previous work and the next one [ Remember Minnale and Kaaka kaaka; Nayagan, Agni Natchathiram, Geetanjali and Anjali ]. Variety keeps the art live.
Few things about the director.. Takeshi Kitano is an all-rounder; he started his career as a standup comedian as two beats in Japan [ reason for his other name Beat Takeshi ]. He is a multi-skilled personality; actor, script writer, director, editor, painter and has good knowledge in music. Due to a conflict while acting in a film ‘Violent cop’, he turned as the director for the movie, accidentally. Till Hana-bi, he worked with the same type of gangster stories with enormous violence and different method of storytelling. Kikujiro is a different craft from his shop. After a fatal accident in 1989, Takesh started working more extensively [ realising ‘Life is beautiful’ ! ]. He’s also a visiting professor in one of the Japanese universities.
Kikujiro : This film needed 4 important elements. Masao [ 9 yrs old boy ], Joe Hisaishi [ Music director ], Yanagishima [ cinematographer ] and Takeshi Kitano [ Editor & Director ]. All of them blended well and the final product is just awesome.

Kikujiro na natsu [ Kikujio’s summer ] – 1999/Drama/Japan
Cast : Yusuke Sekiguchi, Takeshi Kitano
Music : Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography : Katsumi Yanagishima
Edited & Directed by : Takeshi Kitano.

Plot :

Masao, 9 years old n sensitive boy lives with his working grandma in the sub-urban of Tokyo. He doesn’t have a father and mother stays in a far away town, whom he never met. Summer vacation starts and all the friends of Masoe leave the town for holidays. Masoe is left alone. He finds his mother’s photo and address while searching for a stamp. With little money and little knowledge on directions, he walks out of the home and heads towards the address. Takeshi is an irresponsible, loud mouthed person and his wife was a neighbor once to Masoe’s family. They find this boy on his way, to go out of the town. Thinking about the risk, she asks her husband Takeshi to accompany the kid to his mother’s place and gives some money. The highly mismatched friends start the journey. Takeshi’s wife later convinces Masao’s grandma that they are taking him to the seaside.

Takeshi has the least interest in taking the boy to the address and starts spending his money in useless ways. The film is all about their journey and the colorful characters they meet, the strange circumstances they undergo which comes out as a wonderful experience. Both end up their search, in a different and unforgettable way.

View :

– It’s an elliptical style narration. I mean, the film starts and ends with the same shot [ Masao running in a bridge ]. Watch out for the first 7 minutes titling and theme music [ Fabulous one from Joe Hisaishi ]. Look for the bell sounds in between and it has a meaning. [ Mani sathathula ennadaa meaning.. Unnai keppaare illaiyaa 🙂 ]

– The characters are introduced very rapidly with fewer dialogues. For ex., Takeshi’s wife says ‘we were neighbors’ to justify her concern for the boy. Takeshi is introduced with his brash attitude and his wish to grab easy money. Masao talks less and filled up with unknown sadness. The alienation of Masao is picturized by a long shot in a soccer field with him, a ball and an empty ground. Class !

– The journey begins with an irresponsible Takeshi and a sad n eager boy, where the chemistry between them doesn’t work out at all. The friction is carried out through out their journey and events slowly change the relation.

– The story focuses on the alienation and the nuclear family structure in Japan. The story is narrated with different headings as found in the Masao’s diary.

– In a highway motel, Takeshi breaks the glass window of a truck for not getting a lift. That follows a fight sequence. The entire fight sequence is shown in a long shot without any music. A simple and ideal fight which is never shown in that angle. Takeshi never shows the actual fight but he shows the consequences [ Remember the hospital fight in Anjathey 🙂 ].

– The characters : a juggler, her boy friend, a story writer, 2 bikers get introduced and mingles with the story fluidly. Takeshi’s comic acts balance the kid’s sadness.

– The camp they setup in a riverside and the games they play were really touching one. All the grown-ups just return to their childhood and entertain Masao. Those sequences are interesting and I couldn’t accept when they depart. Also, when Masao runs in the end with joy, it leaves an emotional feeling about that kid. The emotion we get when we finish the vacation – a strange feeling which I undergone after the news break in the Sunday evening TV films [ next day school-la enna nadakumo 🙂 ]. Like the feeling during the return journey after a get-together [ ம‌ச்சான்.. நான் அடையார்‍ல‌ இற‌ங்கிக்க‌றேன்டா.. அதான் கிட்ட‌ 🙂 ].

– Takeshi, meanwhile remembers his mother and that sub-plot is a poem by itself. The cello music used in this episode [ The track is named ‘Mother’ in the soundtrack of this film ] is directly used in the movie “Anjathey”‘s climax 🙂 . In Nandalala, it comes with a song, I guess.. [ அம்மா ஒன்ன‌ப் பாத்தா.. வார்த்தை வ‌ல்ல‌ மேல‌.. -Check the song ‘Thaalatu Ketka naanum’ by IR ]

– Joe Hisaishi – The music director is basically a pianist who has done his part extremely well. The theme music is used in various part of the movies with various instruments [once in violin, cello, just piano etc., ].

– The visuals/lighting elevates the movie to another level. The colors used in the journey are excellent.

Conclusion :

I would recommend this movie for the entire family. Similar to ‘In the mood for love’, this film also talks about the loneliness and alienation in life. It’s a delightful story with an intelligent script, brilliant cinematography and an enchanting score. No wonder Mysskin’s office contains only one portrait, where Takeshi Kitano smiles.

Looking forward eagerly for the Tamil movie Nandalala, inspired from Kikujiro.


-Toto.

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