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Dolls [DVD] [2002] [2003]

Miho Kanno , Hidetoshi Nishijima , Takeshi Kitano    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Dolls [DVD] [2002] [2003] + Kikujiro [DVD] + A Scene At The Sea [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Kyko Fukada, Tsutomu Takeshige
  • Directors: Takeshi Kitano
  • Writers: Takeshi Kitano
  • Producers: Masayuki Mori, Takio Yoshida
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Widescreen, HiFi Sound
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Nov 2003
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C665I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,425 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Dolls is a film of extraordinary beauty and tenderness from a filmmaker chiefly associated with grave mayhem and deadpan humor. That is to say, this is not one more Takeshi Kitano movie focused on stoical cops or gangsters. The title refers most directly, but not exclusively, to the theatrical tradition of Bunraku, enacted by half-life-size dolls and their visible but shrouded onstage manipulators. Such a performance--a drama of doomed lovers--occupies the first five minutes of the film, striking a keynote that resonates as flesh-and-blood characters take up the action.

The film-proper is dominated by the all-but-wordless odyssey of a susceptible yuppie and the jilted fiancée driven mad by his desertion to marry the boss's daughter. Bound by a blood-red cord, they move hypnotically through a landscape variously urban and natural, stylized only by the breathtaking purity of light, angle, color, and formal movement imposed by Kitano's compositional eye and rigorous, fragmentary editing. Along the way we also pick up the story of an elderly gangster, haunted by memories of the lover he deserted three decades earlier and generations of "brothers" for whose deaths he was, in the accepted order of things, responsible. Another strand is added to the imagistic weave via a doll-like pop singer and a groupie blinded by devotion to her.

This is a film in which character, morality, metaphysics, and destiny are all expressed through visual rhyme and startling adjustments of perspective. It sounds abstract--and it is--but it's also heartbreaking and thrilling to behold. Kitano isn't in it, but as an artist he's all over it. His finest film, and for all its exoticism, his most accessible. --Richard T. Jameson

Product Description

Cult director Takeshi Kitano weaves together three visually stunning and deeply touching stories of undying love inspired by traditional Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre. The first story concerns a rising young executive who turned his back on his girlfriend in pursuit of his career. Following a failed suicide attempt, which leaves her in a mindless daze, he runs to his former love’s side and now they roam the country together, bound by a red cord, in search of something they have lost. The second is about an ageing yazuka who also abandoned his girlfriend for the sake of success. 30 years later, he is compelled to return to the park where they used to meet. The final tale is of a former pop star who becomes a recluse following a disfiguring accident. One day, one of her greatest fans comes to prove the extent of his devotion to her …

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not quite what you'd expect.... 27 Sep 2003
Written and directed by, but not starring the multi talented, hardest working person in show-biz, Takeshi Kitano, Dolls is a film that will surprise anyone with preconceptions. Book-ended by a Japanese puppet theatre show, telling a tragic love story, the film tells three stories in Kitano Takeshi's almost trade-mark style, but with subtle differences. There is violence, but the viewer only sees the results. There is an almost Sakamoto-esque soundtrack. The main story centres on a couple roped together as they walk through the four seasons and beautifully shot surroundings ( an abundance of blossoms, autumnal maple leaves and crisp snow). Two other stories cross at tangents; a Yakuza clan boss who left his girlfriend years before, only to find she had kept her promise to him, and a disturbingly avid fan of a pop star, who goes to extraordinary lengths to meet the star after she retires from public life after an accident. There are many images to help tell the stories, but there is no superfluous dialogue to get in the way or distract the viewer from the smallest details to the stunning landscapes that are more than mere backdrops. All tell of how devoted love can make a person. All tell how futile the same love can become.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Takeshi Kitano may be everywhere in Japanese media but unlike the omnipresence of Western celebrities, Kitano is an artist and the Japanese recognise this.

Dolls is a film of pure sumptuousness. The story line and the structure of the narrative are played out so beautifully. The emotions of the players are powerfully put over by an outstanding cast and the palette of colours assault the senses , leaving the viewer to gasp in wonder.

The whole concept of the film, that brings to mind Shakespeare's famous line from As You Like It, `All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:` is not a film of pessimism this is a film that celebrates life in all its glory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Steps to Heaven 3 Mar 2011
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Slow, ponderous, replete with imagery, this is a sit down and watch, then gaze into a deep pool of lapping human emotions, each welling to the surface after years of repression. It is ladled with casks of pathos, the feelings stemming from growing older linked to the deep well of regret and what should have been. 3 stories about love and loss.

Shot with an artistic beauty and an unsettling musical score that highlights the haunting nature of being alive, although this film is about regret, its message is to grasp the rungs of resonation. To live each moment is the message, not in oblivion, but in thought and connection.

Love here, is seen as a psychological health condition, driving people to the extremes of deep inner melancholia as they strive to find a meaning for their lives. The 3 scenes all connect at points, all are signpost to a world where striving is nothing, without having an emotional connection to someone.

Takeshi's statement on attachment bonds are literal, as the main characters walk across the barren land bound by a single red chord. This is the symbol of their connection, as they recognise their emotional strength through inhabiting shared memories.

A haunting film that peers into the impact of emotional loss, and the gradual erosion of memories linked to the pain of striving forward whilst losing the sense of humanity within a process of economic ascendancy.

Takeshi is usually perceived as a man who shoots them up, not in a Seagal/Van Damme/Stallone action pack bang bang gangsta killa film. Instead he infuses his films with that Eastern long drawn out alienated cold frozen sociopathic inability to communicate mannerisms.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching 5 April 2006
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I loved this movie! Everything about it from the acting (or lack of in that the actors act like marionettes and therefore with very little facial expression) It's beautiful with interconnections between different stories and different peoples lives that find a commen cord.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slow and deep 18 Mar 2011
I bought this film just to watch to keep my language skills 'warm'. The pace is slow at times, but the photography beautiful. I am well-used to the Japanese convention that youthful love is a sublime madness that generally ends in death. However I was surprised to find how physically moved I felt at the end - the emotional impact built up quite invisibly and caused a shift in my attitudes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 17 Jun 2013
By Dave
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Dolls is an incredibly beautiful movie. Based on Japanese folklore it's a film unlike any of the director's other work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars powerful 13 April 2012
By hamad
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this just because Yoji created the clothing for the film. This film is fantastic the color is stunning and presents the deep understanding of this within the film. The story line is really something that if you have been in love/lust can relate to. I can watch this film over and over it's something that stays in the mind for a long time and is worth watching to see something powerful and inspire the creative mind. It's a film i recommend to y friends and am looking forward to seeing other films by the maker
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interweaving love stories of a modern era.....
Told through a mixture of old Japanese culture and contemporary film-making, the three separate love stories overlap and interweave cleverly but subtly, too. Read more
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by Tim Kidner
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, and maybe above all else moving.
Just, such a great film, five stars isn't enough.
So many emotions, which are all there to see and to feel,
indeed very strong stuff.
Published on 9 Feb 2012 by P. G. Branthwaite
5.0 out of 5 stars So love this film...
I saw this at the cinema in London when it first came out...couldn't believe that such beauty and charm for life could be allowed to be... Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't cry...
If this movie can't make you cry then you should see a doctor! The storylines can be slow at times but thats part of the intended suspense. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2010 by Dan
3.0 out of 5 stars "Poetic"? You Betcha!
I'd love to join the Amazon reviewers awarding this peculiar film five stars, but to be honest this art-house product isn't going to please all film fans: even those few in the... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2005 by Sordel
5.0 out of 5 stars Puppets are as big as life and humans are as small as death
This Japanese film is probably the most disturbing and disquieting film I have seen in many months or even years, and yet also one of the most Japanese films I have ever admired... Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2005 by Jacques COULARDEAU
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!
I was lucky enough to see this film on big screen but viewing it on a smaller screen doesn't take away the original beauty of this film! Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2003 by S. Law
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