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Gohatto [DVD] [2001]

Takeshi Kitano , RyŻhei Matsuda , Nagisa ‘shima    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: £28.98
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Gohatto [DVD] [2001] + Outrage [DVD] + Kikujiro [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Takeshi Kitano, RyŻhei Matsuda, Shinji Takeda, Tadanobu Asano, YŰichi Sai
  • Directors: Nagisa ‘shima
  • Writers: Nagisa ‘shima, Ryotaro Shiba
  • Producers: Eiko Oshima, IchirŰ Yamamoto, Jean Labadie, Jeremy Thomas, Kazuo Shimizu
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Momentum
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Feb 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083EFE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,015 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano takes the lead in this stylish Samurai drama from director Nagisa Oshima ('In the Realm of the Senses', 'Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence'). Tashiro (Tadanobu Asano) and Kano (Ryuhei Matsuda) are the two newest recruits to the Shinsen-gumi militia, and their development is being closely monitored by second-in-command Captain Hijikata (Takeshi). When Tashiro develops a crush on Kano and decides to approach him, it sets in motion a chain of events which brings the Samurai's barely-acknowledged homosexual subculture to light.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much a review as some notes for viewers. 15 Mar 2006
I watched this movie some time ago and was fairly baffled. Since then I have learned something about the Shinsengumi, so when I watched it again recently it all made a lot more sense.
Some points which might be helpful -
• The Shinsengumi was not a training school for samurai; it was a sort of vigilante police force in Kyoto, dedicated to maintaining law and order and supporting the Shogun. See When the Last Sword Is Drawn for a more conventional view of them.
• The Ikadaya incident, mentioned briefly, was when the Shinsengumi raided an inn and massacred the Ishin Shishi, the anti-shogunate forces from Choshu meeting there; a bloody, violent event, but it did prevent the Choshu men from carrying out their plan to capture the Emperor and burn down the city of Kyoto!
• Apart from Kano and Tashiro the characters are based on actual people, members of the Shinsengumi, who are well known in Japan. They appear in manga stories, a TV series starring young pop singers, and numerous feature films. For a Japanese audience there would be no need to explain who they are and their circumstances. For example, in one scene the Vice-Commander Hijikata (Beat Takeshi’s character) goes to talk to Okita Souji, who is sitting by the lake. He wants to ask him about the swordsmanship of the new recruits, but he starts by asking him, very tenderly, how he is feeling. Okita looks at him without speaking for a few moments, then replies cheerfully that he’s feeling fine. In fact he is slowly dying of tuberculosis, but this is never mentioned; you are expected to know it.
• Kano is the only character who wears white. White is the colour of death in Japanese tradition.
The ending is baffling. It's meant to be. Don't worry about it.
Nothing wrong with the subtitles on my copy, by the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different Strokes for Different Folks 2 April 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am baffled as to why this film has had negative reviews. The plot is taut,the casting superb, the action sequences faultless and the photography excellent. Much of the films message is visual and the subtitling is more than adequate. Possibly I missed some subtleties because I do not speak fluent Japanese but I am not complaining. Perhaps it is just a case of different strokes...? Good Japanese films can offer refreshingly different and often subtle viewpoints and I would include Gohatto amongst them. I confess I find films with the subject of homosexuality difficult to watch but the subject matter was handled with a great deal of delicacy and insight and I found myself engaged from start to finish. For once the liberal, heterosexual male viewpoint was included.
Takesho Kitano is one of my favourite hardmen and his stony Noh face is used to good effect. For my money this man ranks amongst the worlds greats.
If you appreciate the Japanese genre, Gohatto will not disgrace your collection.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, Vivid & Beautiful 12 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Gohatto (aka Taboo) is yet another masterful release from the Japanese cinema circuit. Along with recent releases such as Miike Takashi's breathtaking Audition to old triumph's such as Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Iron Man, it appears that Japanese cinema is infact where to turn to when looking for excitement on the screen instead of the usual Hollywood fodder.
Gohatto is set in 19th century Japan at a training school for Samurai's. Newcomer to the fold is a beautiful young boy who holds captive the collective Samurai with his stunning youthful looks. Trust me - this film makes being gay a very, very certain option.
The only flaw? Length. Being a Nagisa Oshima film the length is a usual short one, clocking in roughly at 90 minutes. A film of this calibre should be running into the 3 hour mark. Still, you can't have everything, but with Gohatto Taboo, you'll come very close.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Film, interesting plot! 14 Jan 2006
A film about the role of samurai in 19th century Japan, but also explores homosexual fantasies in a rather interesting way. Sometimes there are flashes of sentences in between scenes to help you understand the story. The violent scenes are short, and aren't over the top which gives it some realism - yet there is a surreal atmosphere throughout the whole film at the same time...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for some, but not for others 10 Dec 2009
I have read all the reviews with interest as this is one of my favourite films, but clearly for some people it is a big disappointment.

Two groups of people are likely to be disappointed - those wanting samurai action and those wanting gay action.

The film is more of a psychological drama and in my opinion is a brilliant study of the ambivalent attitude to homosexuality in macho male institutions. Yes, it does leave you confused in many places and gives you something of an unsatisfied feeling at the end of not knowing what really happened. Which characters are gay and out? Which are gay and not out? Which are repressed gays unable to face up to their sexuality? Kano is accused of wearing his hair long to drive men crazy, but no one says that of Okita who also wears his hair long. Okita makes strong anti-gay statements, but what is his sexuality? And who was killed in the last scene - Kano or Okita? That is what real life is like with an emotive subject like gay sex. Particularly in an all male macho institution.

I suspect also that westerners want more certainty and black and white conclusions than the Japanese.

Visually it is a beautiful film with a brilliant performance from Kitano. It certainly made me want to see more of director Oshima's work.
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