In 1997, Hana-bi, a Japanese film, became a great cinema hit. As a result, the whole world found out about Takeshi Kitano, who was not only the writer and director of the film, but also portrayed the main role of Yoshitaka Nishi. Hana-bi was awarded the Golden Lion at the 54th Venice International Film Festival and won the title of Best Non-European Film of the European Film Academy. The filmmaker, actor and scriptwriter is still one of the biggest stars in his country; having said that, he often collaborates with artists from abroad.

Takeshi Kitano is known to many for his thrilling journey across genres and styles and between cinema and television, but also between poetry and literature, including absolute masterpieces such as Sonatine, Kids Return, Kikujiro, Dolls and Zatoichi (Silver Lion in 2003) as well as his beloved hard-boiled cult saga Outrage. And let’s not forget the brutal character of Sergeant Gengo Hara that he played alongside David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto in Nagisa Oshima’s famous Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, or his incursions into Hollywood in Johnny Mnemonic and Ghost in the Shell.

On Friday the 29th of April, the legend of Japanese cinema will receive the Golden Mulberry Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 24th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy. Takeshi Kitano showed his gratitude through a message ahead of the festival. 

“It’s for me a great honour to receive the Golden Mulberry Award of the Udine Far East Film Festival. I am truly overwhelmed. I would like to thank and to extend all my gratitude to the festival’s organisers. I am so glad to receive this important Award in Italy and to enjoy this celebration on your side, in Udine. At the same time, we are in the middle of a very difficult time, of war, scars and sufferings in Europe. I feel so sad for all these sufferings and terrified by the war in Ukraine. In this moment of uncertainty and more than ever, I hope that we can all remember that culture and especially movies can link cultures and unify humans all together. I am extremely proud to receive this distinction, going straight to my heart. Thank you to the Udine Film Festival and to all my Italian and European friends.” 

Takeshi Kitano

It’s impossible to describe the genius of Takeshi Kitano in a few words. He is more than an actor, director, screenwriter, writer, painter, comedian and presenter. He is simply one of the biggest gems of Japanese cinema. 

Takeshi Kitano will attend the Udine Far East Film Festival in person on April 29th, 2022. 

Featured image © Courtesy of FEFF

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Asian Cinema, Film, Film events and festivals

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