Japan's Takeshi Kitano essays a 'pervert' in his new film

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2015 18:35 IST
Takeshi Kitano in a still from the film, Kikujiro.

The legendary Japanese auteur and actor, Takeshi Kitano, will star in Wayne Wang's While the Women are Sleeping, a drama based on a short story by Javier Marias about a Japanese author who fantasises about a couple at a seaside resort.

What is striking about the film is the fact that the 68-year-old Kitano -- who likes to call himself 'Beat Takeshi' when he steps before the camera -- has for the first time in 11 years agreed to work in a movie helmed by someone else. In 2004, he performed in Yuichi Sai's Blood and Bones.

However, Kitano has starred in several of his own films -- notable among them being Sonatine, Kikujiro, Brother and Outrage. Most of his cinema has been liberally peppered with violent imagery that encompasses brutal tales of cops and the Yakuza (Japanese gangsters).

With a unique acting method where Kitano often seems deadpan, a directorial approach using long takes (where nothing appears to be happening) and a camera style that approaches near-stasis, his movies may appear bleak or nihilistic, but are full of humour and a strange sense of affection among the characters. In fact, the Japanese masses know him as a comedian in hugely popular television shows.

But Kitano is a 'funny' man; with a unique difference. He is revered as 'God'. In fact, he is known as one in Japan.

While the Women are Sleeping has been mostly shot in Izu and narrates the story of Sahara (played by Kitano) -- who is spending time with his much younger girlfriend (Shiori Kutsuna, who is just 22) on the beach. The narrator here is a writer, Kenji, who also happens to be at the resort with his wife, and although he is just curious about Sahara and his girl in the beginning, things take a dramatic turn later. The writer finds himself sucked into the world of Sahara's madness.

Wang recently said the film had enormous satirical elements, and he joked that Beat Takeshi essayed a 'pervert'.

While the Women are Sleeping was pitched at the Busan Asian Project Market in 2013, it is set for a 2016 release.

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