by Chris MaGee
Back at the end of June we reported on the rumour that for his 15th feature film Takeshi Kitano was moving away from the deconstructed style of his last three films and returning to much more familiar, and commercially viable, territory: a yakuza film. Makes perfect sense. Kitano, along with Takashi Miike, Rokuro Mochizuki, and Takashi Ishii, helped redefine and revitalize the yakuza genre during the '90's... and Kitano took a real beating from critics for "Takeshis'", "Glory to the Filmmaker", and "Achilles and the Tortoise", so if anyone needs to revert back to their old tried and true working methods it'd be him.
Now word comes from both Tokyograph and Japan Zone that confirms Kitano's next film will indeed be a straight up yakuza film. There's no title attached to the film which Kitano started shooting on August 23rd, but we do know that Kitano will be playing the lead character while Tomokazu Miura, Kippei Shiina, and Ryo Kase will play yakuza Fumiyo Kohinata will play police detective, and Soichiro Kitamura, Renji Ishibashi, and Jun Kunimura will fit into the mix somehow.
Am I glad that Kitano is returning to yakuza films? Damn right I am, but not just because I like things fitting the old status quo. While I've not been a huge fan of Kitano's recent trilogy of avant films I do have to say that technically they've been intriguing. Kitano's skills as an editor haven't been dulled during this period of experimentation, in fact they've become stronger - they just haven't had a decent story to be utilized on. I'm really looking forward to seeing what elements of his recent work Kitano is planning to bring to this new yakuza film.
Kitano's 15th feature film is scheduled to be released next year.