The son of a house painter and a factory worker.Golden Lion, Silver Lion, Knights of the Arts and Letters, Legion of Honor. Director, actor, painter, poet.Takeshi Kitano is the total artist of a certain Japan. Yakuzas, family men, children, compose a cinema of absence.

Designer Yohji Yamamoto tells it thus:

“Two padded kimonos, one for a woman and one for a man, were made using Yuzen dyeing by Chiso, an old Kyoto Yuzen company formed in the 16th century. They cost more than 10 million yen. I paid for everything myself. But my relationship with Takeshi is not about money, but a friendship between two men. It is a spirit of generosity and chivalry. And thus, “Dolls” was released in 2002. Although it did not set a box-office record, it is apparently being used in art schools around the world as a teaching tool for the use of color. It holds important memories for me as well.”

Dolls draws its inspiration from the japanese bunraku theater: giant puppets playing the four seasons of endless love. Kitano grounds them:

“When I was still an aspiring actor in Asakusa, I once saw a man and a woman tied together by a rope. The locals called them ‘wandering beggars’. There were a lot of rumors about them, but nobody really knew how they had become vagrants. The vision of the wandering beggars has remained engraved in my memory, and I have always wanted to make a film with characters like them.”

It is however as a comic, then as a comedian that Kitano’s career began: he plays the sergeant to David Bowie’s imprisoned colonel in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, a policeman or a killer in the films of Ryūchi Takamori or Yōjirō Takit. It is by the serendipity of an illness that he becomes a director, replacing one in an emergency. From his days as a comic, he keeps the nickname of his duo: the manzai “The Two Beats” became “Beat Takeshi”.

Directing fits his taste for retreat. Kitano cauterizes emotion, narrows down narration, streamlines dialogue. Hoarse voice, tight lips: in Sonatine, his character commits suicide in a rictus. His countenance and clothes then become the way to read him. In Violent Cop, a grey, white, and black tweed blazer with low notch lapels grows tattered from chase to chase; in Boiling Point, a flowered shirt and double-striped jacket undo the character’s coldness; in Sonatine, a white shirt.

Yamamoto designs the costumes for three of his films:

for Brother – a black three-button with wide volumes, a camp-collar white shirt. for Dolls – boiled wool, a fine synthetic prussian blue shirt.

for Takeshis’ – a slim black suit with frank shoulders, an oliver rain poncho.

In Hana-Bi, Brother, Takeshis’, and on the red carpet, Kitano wears sunglasses inspired by those of the anarchist Peter Kropotkin.

In his autobiography, My Dear Bomb, Yohji Yamamoto writes: “In the places where he wants a message to get across, he intentionally does not insert that message.”

Brother, 2000. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.

KITANO, Takeshi, dir. Brother. 2000.

Dolls, 2002. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.

KITANO, Takeshi. Dolls. 2002.

KITANO, Takeshi dir. During a fitting

KITANO, Takeshi. dir. During a fitting.

OSHIMA, Nagisa, dir. Furyo. 1983.

Dolls, 2002. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.2

KITANO, Takeshi, dir. Dolls. 2000.

Sonatine, 1993. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.

KITANO, Takeshi, dir. Sonatine. 1993.

Takeshis', 2005. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.

KITANO, Takeshi, dir. Takeshis’. 2005.

Violent Cop, 1989. KITANO, Takeshi, dir.

KITANO, Takeshi, dir. Violent Cop. 1989.

    « tailors also see it as the place of their uniqueness»
    « His countenance and clothes then become the way to read him.»
    « historically done by hand, with a striking visual detail in lighter, brighter fabrics »
    «Writer of memory, Patrick Modiano is also the writer of fabrics.»
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