Актеры: Takeshi Kitano (as Zatoichi (as Beat Takeshi)), Tadanobu Asano (as Gennosuke Hattori), Yui Natsukawa (as O-Shino, wife of Gennosuke Hattori), Michiyo Ookusu (as O-Ume), Gadarukanaru Taka (as Shinkichi), Yuuko Daike (as O-Kinu), Daigorф Tachibana (as O-Sei/Seitarou), Ittoku Kishibe (as Ginzou), Saburo Ishikura (as Oogiya), Akira Emoto (as Nomiya no Oyaji), Hideboh (as Tap-dancing peasant (as The Stripes)), Noriyasu (as Tap-dancing peasant (as The Stripes)), Ron II (as Tap-dancing peasant (as The Stripes)), Suji (as Tap-dancing peasant (as The Stripes))
Описание: Китано всегда изобретет нечто новенькое, но на этот раз он превзошел себя, впервые сняв историю из XIX века, обрядив своих героев в кимоно и заставив в финале бить стэп. Стэп, если кто не знает, - чечетка. Японских стэпистов мы пока не видели, так вот, эти поазартней американских, так что к финалу зал захлебывается от восторга.
Заточи - помесь нашего Ивана-дурака с американским бомбовозом. То есть сидит-сидит себе, слепой и немощный, а потом сделает, не глядя, мелкое движение рукой, и уже из подкравшегося сзади самурая фонтаном хлещет кровь. А если встанет и начнет надвигаться на зрителя, то это страшно. Хотя благообразный и с виду безопасный. Он в фильме сражается с людьми из банды Гиндзо, которая держит городок в страхе. В деле участвуют молодой телохранитель Хаттори (Таданобу Асано) и две прелестные гейши, одна из которых парень, дерзкий и опасный. Ситуация фольклорная и располагает к беспрерывной комической импровизации: и плохие парни и хорошие парни неуловимо смешны. Смешна кровь, которая хлещет как из прохудившегося пожарного шланга. Элементы мюзикла вторгаются неожиданно и тоже весело: крестьяне начинают отбивать тяпками хитроумный ритм (кто видел наш "Норд-Ост", помнит подобный номер с машинистками, выбивающими стэп на "Ундервудах" - он был сделан даже лучше). Рассказать о финальном массовом стэпе не хватит слов; для участия в этой сцене Китано привлек гениальную японскую тэп-группу "The Stripes".
In his review of The Seven Samurai, film critic John Anderson started by reporting an incidence of Ў§unedited ignoranceЎЁ, of someone posting a Ў§reviewЎЁ on Internet saying that Ў§Seven Samurai was, like, okay, but hardly as cool as the movie it so obviously ripped off, The Magnificent SevenЎЁ. IЎ¦m happy to see that so far, nobody seems to have said anything about Zatoichi, like, ripping off Ў§DaredevilЎЁ.
In my comment on Takeshi KitanoЎ¦s last movie Ў§DollsЎЁ (which he directed but did not acted in), I used a summary line Ў§A Kitano metamorphosis ЎV new shape still to emergeЎЁ. Dolls has been a disappointment to most Kitano fans, although some hail its artistic achievement. I have since been waiting eagerly for Zatoichi, and the waiting became yearning when words came that this film won the PeopleЎ¦s Choice award in last yearЎ¦s Toronto Film Festival. Finally it came. The summary line pretty well sums up my reaction after seeing it.
The film opens with a big bang which is not audio but visual. On a serene scene with Zatoichi sitting dreamily on the side of a country road, without any warning, the title abruptly hits the screen like a huge hammer, covering the entire frame with the three characters, Zatoichi, in turquoise blue.
The opening ambush scene is quite mainstream, but KitanoЎ¦s weird sense of humor is registered, as he turns the classy act of quick sword draw into comic relief, with one of the ambushers slitting one of his comradeЎ¦s arm with his clumsy draw. And we see this playful kid inside Kitano popping up throughout the film, sometimes at most unexpected junctures, to surprise and delight. The first half of the film, taking care of the development of the plot, continues to be quite mainstream. Briskly, the various key players are introduced: the would-be arch-opponent who is a wandering samurai reckless to do anything to earn money to cure his sick wife, the pair of geishas on a crusade to revenge their brutally murdered family, the various gangs of villains, the nice Ў§little peopleЎЁ, the clown/jester (not his actual profession, but just his function in the film). Yet even here, Kitano uses a little montage here and there, sometimes at the most inconsequential scenes. For example, when the peasant woman whose house Zatoichi boarded at talks about her gambling nephew, the image of this person is superimposed on the main scene.
It is when the plot is basically set that we see more of the good old Kitano, in a sequence that look almost like a concerto in three movements. Now, Zatoichi has sided with the geishas, who turn out to be actually brother and sister, with the younger brother disguised as a woman. After their first attempt in seeking out the villains, they gather in the peasant womanЎ¦s house, together with the clown/jester, to plan their next move. Tired, they are all in a pensive mood, in harmony with the rain outside. The rain brings ZatoichiЎ¦s thoughts back to one of the most savage fights he had, and here we see some of the Kitano blood (literally, albeit CGI generated this time) we Kitano fans are so familiar with, including a gory shot of Zatoichi sliding his sword along an opponentЎ¦s spear, paying no respect to the thumb and fingers grasping it. But this is soon replaced but a much longer sequence immersed in heart-breaking poignancy that Kitano handles with equal ease. The rain brings the sisterЎ¦s thoughts back to the days when they were around eight or nine, when her brother resorted to offering himself to child molesters as an alternative to starvation. This led to the idea of the boy taking up geisha dancing, as we see liberal use of montage in an extensive interposing of the same dance sequence during his practice then and now, culminating in the sister breaking down in inaudible sobs. Finally, the clown/jester is close to tears, and borrows an umbrella to go outside just to check out the conditions. In a muddy paddy field, we see four rather ominous looking farmers. While we are trying to make up our minds as to what mood we should adopt for ourselves, these four characters suddenly burst in break-dance-like movements in the rain, showing KitanoЎ¦s versatility in mime. Before we finish laughing, this thing ends just as abruptly as it started.
This Ў§rain sequenceЎЁ concerto in three movements seems to be Kitano saying: Pay attention folks, IЎ¦m back.
Then itЎ¦s getting back to more mainstream treatment of story telling. The climax duel I awaited with considerable interest to see how Kitano would handle it, as this is something that had been done so many times before, even if you put aside the Western fast-draws and stay with only Japanese duels. This one is actually quite similar with Duel on Ganryu Island (1951), pitching a famous, experienced swordsman (played by Toshiro Mifune) against a rising star, young, intense and deadly. Both scene are at the beach, and in Ganryu Island, we see some exciting parrying. I was not surprised though that here, Kitano took the route of Sanjuro (1962), of one-fast-draw-ends-all. Always true to form, however, Kitano shows again his creativity in doing something nobody has done, by adding a scene of the wandering samuraiЎ¦s vision (wishful thinking) of his own victory. And the duel is not the end of the action. There are two more scenes of Zatoichi hunting down the Ў§hiddenЎЁ villains, though the twists should not surprise movie veterans too much.
However, Kitano has not exhausted his bag of tricks. The finale of a Chicago style tap dance extravaganza, in Japanese wooden sandals, should bring the house down. And he did not forget interposing the brother and sister with the two marvelous kids playing them in the flashback, as the joyous mood swells to embrace the entire cinema. I do not always sit through ending credits rolls (as IЎ¦m ashamed to admit) but the marvelous symphony of drums kept me glued to my seat till the very end.
I was going to compare this to the original, Shintaro KatsuЎ¦s Zatoichi (1963), which I also enjoy tremendously. But now I realize that there is no point. This is KitanoЎ¦s Zatoichi, of the 21st century, and thatЎ¦s good enough for me.