Friday, March 12, 2010

Takeshi Kitano gets art retrospective and French Government's highest honour

by Chris MaGee

Everyone seems to be be getting excited about the June 12th Japanese theatrical release of Takeshi Kitano's 15th feature film "Outrage" due in no small part to the fact that it is his first yakuza film since his 2000 U.S. - Japan gangster film "Brother". The excitement in France seems to have boiled over into outright adoration this month though.

First off, Paris' Fondation Cartier Museum mounting an unprecedented exhibit of Kitano's artwork titled "Gosse de peintre (Kid Painter)". Kitano began painting after his near fatal 1995 motorcycle accident and subsequently featured his artwork in his films "Hana-bi", "Kikujiro", and "Achilles and the Tortoise", but up until this point he's never agreed to a retrospective of his work. There's much more to to exhibit than just Kitano's paintings though. He's also directed a series of comedic short films that lampoon Westerner's views of the Japanese, and the exhibition hall also features a puppet theatre and giant broken sewing machine that Kitano says symbolizes the current state of contemporary art. You can check out a selection of Kitano's work featured in "Gosse de peintre (Kid Painter)", which runs until September 12th, at here.

Besides the Kitano retrospective the French government bestowed its greatest honour, the Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters, to Kitano at a ceremony at the Fondation Cartier Museum this past Tuesday. Frederic Mitterrand (above right), France's Culture Minister said that Kitano's films, and of course artwork, "teaches us about the multi-faceted nature of people." Kitano seemed a bit embarrassed by all the praise, "I'm not so sure I deserve this honor, but I will do my best to be worthy of it," he told the assmebled guests and reporters. Thanks to Japan Zone for the details on this.

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