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Hana-Bi [DVD] [1998]

Takeshi Kitano , Kayoko Kishimoto , Takeshi Kitano    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Ohsugi, Susumu Terajima, Tetsu Watanabe
  • Directors: Takeshi Kitano
  • Writers: Takeshi Kitano
  • Producers: Hideto Osawa, Hiroshi Ishikawa, Kazuhiro Furukawa, KŰichi Miyagawa, Masayuki Mori
  • 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 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Feb 2001
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056IFX
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,656 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


From Amazon.co.uk

The ideal starter movie for those who wish to familiarise themselves with the work of the paradoxical Japanese auteur, Hana-Bi (the word means "fireworks" in Japanese) is an echt example of "Beat"'s Takeshi Kitano's distinctive brand of existential crime thrillers. Like Violent Cop, Boiling Point, Sonatine or his LA-set Brother, Hana-Bi juxtaposes shocking bursts of violence with reflective moments of lyricism, setting up a slap-caress-slap rhythm that's as disquieting as it is addictive.

Kitano himself plays weary Tokyo cop Nishi, an impassive-faced detective in hock to yakuza mobsters, toughened by a career in violence (at one point he takes out an attacker's eye with a chopstick, an assault so swiftly edited one barely has time to register it). Nishi's Achilles-heel is his love for his wife Miyuki (Kayoko Kishimoto) who is dying of cancer, following their late daughter to the grave. When Nishi leaves a stakeout to attend to her in hospital, a colleague, Horibe (Ren Osugi) is paralysed in the ensuing shootout. Nishi, guilt-stricken, goes on the run with Miyuki, taking her to beauty spots to enjoy simple pleasures like kite-flying and picnics before she dies, although the yakuza are never far behind. Meanwhile, Horibe takes up painting, and discovers in the process a calming new vocation (the na&239;ve, disturbing and strangely beautiful images are by Kitano himself, painted after he had his own near-fatal experience in a motorcycle accident).

The cumulative effect is a profoundly moving and enigmatic movie, one that discreetly withholds many of the narrative crutches--backstory, motivation--you would expect from a conventional Hollywood movie with the same story. It's not surprising Kitano is so drawn to characters teeming with contradictions, given that his own career seems so bi-polar on paper: he started out a television presenting clown, and his move into glowering policiers represented an image volte-face as surprising to Japanese audiences as it would be if Dale Winton had started making Scorsese-style gangster movies. His comic sensibility shines through in spots in Hana-Bi, even more so in the broad comedy Kikujiro. Considered by many critics Kitano's best film, Hana-Bi^'s power is augmented by Hideo Yamamoto's lapidary cinematography, and Jo Hisaishi's lush, string-laden score. --Leslie Felperin

Product Description

Takeshi Kitano directs, writes and stars in this downbeat thriller. Monosyllabic detective Nishi (Kitano) leaves the force after his partner Horibe is seriously wounded and two colleagues are killed in pursuit of a gunman. Dedicating his life to caring for his terminally ill wife, as well as providing for the wheelchair-bound Horibe, Nishi accrues crippling debts. After robbing a bank to ease his financial worries, Nishi takes his wife on a final holiday, pursued by loan sharks and the police.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars kitano fireworks. 19 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A great introduction to the master's work, Hana-Bi is the most accessable of Kitano's films. It has love, loyalty, revenge, humour and the coolest ever bank robbery you'll ever see on film. Kitano is Nishi, a policeman with a sick wife, fallen colleagues and an unfortunate involvement with the yakuza. Nishi is so laid back to the turmoil around him, he at first seems detatched from the action. It appears strange to our Westernized film cultured brains to see a film where the main protagonist hardly utters a syllable in the first half of the movie, but here it happens, and it works very well. I won't give the story away,suffice to say it's one of my favourite films.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beat Takeshi delivers a film like no other. 12 Feb 2002
I have been a fan of oriental films now for many years, from Manga, to Made In Hong Kong, to Japan and Korea. In these years I have seen many a film which I considered to be amongst the very best of all time. Then I saw Hana-Bi.
Winner at the Venice Film Festival in 1997, Hana-Bi, 'Fireworks', is a story of emotions and feelings done the only way Kitano 'Beat' Takeshi knows how.
He never loses his control on the audience managing to keep your attention right up to the closing finale. It's full of romance, guilt, sadness, loneliness and passion with a haunting and unique score by Joe Hisaishi, a brilliant composer who can direct an orchestra just as aptly as Kitano can a film crew.
This film will leave you breathless and reaching for the replay button the moment the credits start to roll.
My wife watched the whole film with me, a rarity I can tell you, and she usually does not like these films, but even she had to admit how good it was. It is a fantastic story well acted and superbly directed. I masterpiece of Japanese cinema any fan, or non fan, should place pride of thier collection.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Veritable Genius 23 Nov 2005
By A Customer
In order to fully appreciate Kitano films I believe that one must have at least a basic comprehension of Japanese societal customs. His films employ a Zen buddhism ethic, namely "simplicity is beauty". As such his films are virtually devoid of real dialogue, nevertheless the story is always clear. Rarely does one one come across a director who can so effectively exploit such a simplistic style, and yet create movies that are poetic, elegiac and thought provoking. Anyone who genuinely appreciates cinema will marvel at the absolutely sublime skill of this director, who is entirely unique. There are obvious elements of nihilism, in the sense that Kitano appreciates the beauty of human experience, the tragedy being that life is without purpose. Subsequently he has a view of the world that is simultaneously bleak and cheerful, phenomenal. A work of undisputed genius, absolutely deserving of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Bravo and Bravo again!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What cinema was invented for! 26 Sep 2001
As my trite heading implies I have trouble writing a sensible review to cover this amazing film. I don't think it is possible for me to put down just how deeply this film affected me. This was the first 'Beat' Kitano film I have seen and I have to admit I was expecting some sort of Japanese Tarantino/Scorsese lite stylish crime thriller. This exists almost at the other end of the spectrum, however, as the realistic (but mostly off-screen) violence, the understated humour and the tragically human characters combine to make the film transcend any such 'crime' sub-categorisation. A thrilling example of how to make a violent but meaningful film for the 21st century.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best cult Kitano films Ever! 6 April 2003
I have seen nearly all of Takeshi Kitano's films but Hana bi has to be one of the best I have seen so far. It is a brilliant mix of tranquillity and violence and has a excellent soundtrack composed by Joe Hisaishi who also comosed alot of the music for other Kitano films. This film was a winner of the venice flim festival in 1997 which it definitely deserved. The film does have a bit of what I call (Kitano Humour) But it is still very serious and emotional.
In conclsion it is one of the best Kitano films I have seen,any Cult movie fan should consider buying it. This movie is Takeshi Kitano at his BEST.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 5 Dec 2006
This is considered by many to be cult Japanese director "beat" Takeshi Kitano's finest film. It certainly may be his most depressing. Hana-Bi is serene & introspective, occasionaly exploding into extremely violent moments, but the style is slow & can seem strange to anyone brought up on western films where dialogue is constant. As usual in "beats" films there are sometimes moments of sadistic violent humour. The story revolves around a cop called Nishi (Kitano). He is wracked by guilt when his partner is paralysed when he skips duty to visit his hospitalised wife. Events get out of hand as Nishi borrows money from the Yakuza and even commits a bank job (one of the coolest Ive seen)& goes on the run with his terminally ill wife who is dying of leukemia and given not long left to live. the last part of the movie he takes his wife on a road trip around scenic areas of Japan in her final days.. leading to a sad but inevitable conclusion, not as shocking as it first seems if you think about it. The character of Nishi is fascinating & seems somehow very Japanese. On the surface he is hard, little emotion, few words, capable of outbursts of psychopathic violence. But if you look closer this is a man who is also capable of the deepest compassion and self sacrifice. The only thing that betrays his undercurrent of feeling below the granite faced exterior is a facial tick, which seems to excentuate in moments of extreme emotion. This is a fantastic film. Not for those who are only interested in hollywood blockbuster films at 100mph though, or want happy endings for that matter! But very much recommended for those who enjoy thoughtfull, artistic films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
Very entertaining film that was imbued with it's own style thanks I suspect to actor/director Takeshi Kitano. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Nelson Pine
5.0 out of 5 stars Hana-bi
truly exceptional movie. Very Japanese and a pure Kitano classic, one of his very best. Exploits the very fabric of Japanese society, shame, corruption, yakuza. and the humor. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by athula
3.0 out of 5 stars Hana-bi
Bought this film on the strength of the reviews here and elsewhere. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations.I found it too slow and frustrating to watch. Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2010 by Tony Ochmann
5.0 out of 5 stars A melancholy filled violent masterpiece.
Written, directed, and starring Takeshi Kitano, 'Hana-bi' is a complex and powerful film revolving around the life of Nishi, a quiet but violent Tokyo cop plagued with bad luck. Read more
Published on 4 July 2010 by Ernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Hana-Bi
For those who don't know Beat Takeshi will have probably encountered his creation on TV, Takeshi's Castle .. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2009 by Si "Freddie" Hatfield
3.0 out of 5 stars very highly rated- deserving of a 3.5
Hana bi is a very highly rated piece of cinema and its cinematography is very striking (if starting to look a little old being from 1997. Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2006 by Tim Bryant
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful work of art from Beat Takeshi
Winner of the golden lion at the Venice film festival in '97, Hana-Bi may well be the finest film i've seen. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2006 by Airi Momo
5.0 out of 5 stars Fireworks All Round
I think I read somewhere that Hana-Bi means fireworks, I could be wrong, but it sums up this movie. With the greatest hang dog expression since Robert Mitchum in his prime,... Read more
Published on 6 July 2005 by Donald Thompson
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