Zatoichi - The Film, The Movie, The Video

19th Century Japan... Zatoichi is a blind wanderer who makes a living by gambling and giving massages. But behind his humble facade, Zatoichi is a master swordsman, gifted with a lightning-fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Zatoichi discovers a remote mountain town at the mercy of the Ginzo gang.

The ruthless Ginzo dispose of anyone who gets in their way, quicker than ever since they recruited Hattori, the mighty samurai Ronin.

In a gambling joint, Zatoichi and his trustworthy young friend Shinkichi meet up with a couple of geishas. As dangerous as they are beautiful, Okinu and her sister Osei have come to town to avenge their parents' murder. 

Zatoichi - The Creator : Takeshi Kitano

This renowned Japanese film director came into this world on January 18, 1947.

Takeshi has a multi-faceted arts background including time spent as an actor, singer, comedian, screenwriter, author, TV show anchorman, film editor, poet video game developer and painter.

Over the years, Takeshi has been critically acclaimed in his home country Japan and around the world as a result of his quirky cinematic video filming work. One famous critic of Japanese films Nagaharu Yodogawa, even compared Takashi to Akira Kurosawa. Even to the extent that he claimed he was Kurosawa’s natural successor!

Outside of his film career, Takeshi is also known as Beat Takeshi and a shortened version of simply Takeshi arising from his role as an actor in the film Johnny Mnemonic.

Takeshi’s enterprises include a film company called Office Kitano and an agency for talented artists.

He is also based at Tokyo’s Arts University where is resides as a professor in the Graduate School of Visual Arts.

He is most famous in his native Japan as a comedian and host of a television show called Beat Takeshi’s TV Tackle which is primarily a discussion programme where politicians and celebrities consider and discuss current affairs.

Kitano’s earlier film work featured law enforcement and criminal fraternity known as the Yakuza. His critics claim that his acting adopts a “deadpan” approach. His cinematographic style features video camera work with little or no movement except the live action of actors or objects moving in the background. He employs “long takes” in which there appears little semblance of activity. In addition, he often edits footage immediately after taking it.

Whilst his work exudes affection for characters and much humour, it has also been described as “bleak” or “rebellious”. The outcome of a lot of his work leaves his audience with a somewhat convoluted impression at times and at others take on an extremely controversial stance too!

In 2000 and 2002 Kitano’s films Dolls and Brother proved to be a disappointment especially from critics in the United States.  In Asia and indeed Europe, the criticism was somewhat muted and not much praise for these films was forthcoming when compared to his previous works!

However, in 2003 Kitano directed and starred in Zatoichi. Takeshi created a new interpretation of the character made famous in Shintaro Katsu’s well established popular TV series of the same name.

Zatoichi - The Awards

Zatoichi won numerous awards including the Silver Lion award at Venice’s Film Festival and it was a huge success at the Japanese box office as well as in Manchester UK at their arts festival. Takeshi Kitano's approach was applauded by a wide range of film industry critics who comment about what video production Manchester culture find so appealing.

Charles Gordon

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