Tests of Faith

A profoundly dialectical filmmaker, Kitano combines low comedy with high melodrama as effectively as Shakespeare; and he functions as director, writer, editor, and star of his films, all the better to assert the value of social relations. Indeed, Fireworks can be read as an ode to the empathetic, creative human connections basic to both good marriages and filmmaking.

Guilt bonds: Froler and August in Private Confessions
Film Forum
Guilt bonds: Froler and August in Private Confessions


Private Confessions
Directed by Liv Ullmann
Written by Ingmar Bergman
A Castle Hill/First Run
Features release
At Film Forum
Through January 19

"Beat Takeshi"
At Anthology Film Archives
January 7-10, 14-17

Although they ran but briefly last year, Fireworks and Sonatine turned up on many top-10 lists, and not just in The Village Voice. The Anthology is showing both along with Takashi Ishii's lurid Gonin, in which Kitano turns up at a crucial moment in his typical professional hit-man role. Ishii does his own spin on Kitano's fetishized eyewear. Instead of impenetrable shades, the killer wears a white patch covering one eye. Like a camera, he operates with monocular vision.

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