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Critics reviews
Takeshi Kitano Japan, 1997
In Fireworks’ new stylistic register, Kitano’s elliptical editing coexists with moments of introspection, and a renewed aesthetic adjusts to the film’s sentimentality.
February 03, 2020
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The film’s title translates to Fireworks while combining the Japanese words for “fire” and “flower,” two images that appear throughout the paintings. These paintings, along with frequent Kitano collaborator Joe Hisaishi’s marvelous score, bring much emotional power to this work.
November 16, 2016
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It’s an odd work that mixes almost cartoonish violence, comedy, and deep feeling to create a compelling and affecting film. “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is a wonderfully bold and original voice in world cinema who deserves your attention.
June 16, 2008
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Kitano’s morose, alienated take on what could be a standard-issue cops-and-gangsters tale is simultaneously coolly stylized and surprisingly emotionally persuasive. Yes, the scenes involving Nishi and his wife feel weirdly cloying at first, especially when you compare them with the jarringly violent sequences in between. But by the time you realize where it’s all going, it’s pretty tough to get that constricted feeling out of your throat.
November 02, 2004
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It announces not only a new kind of “cop movie” but a template for a new kind of Kitano film. Violent Cop has its share of long pauses and gruesome violence, but in Fireworks Kitano embraces sentimentality that may strike some as maudlin, but the way he handles it is neither strong-armed nor phony. The film is heavy on nostalgia and even what we might call treacle, but the conviction the filmmaker brings to the table forces one to entertain the notion that these scenes are, in fact, essential.
July 07, 2004
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What emerges is more than the sum of its parts, an original and profound statement on mortality, how rich human life can be, and how quickly it can be taken away.
March 29, 2002
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The director’s own filmed body becomes the film’s central object; an elusive, ambiguous, and highly unstable centre of meaning, existing in and around the images on screen, and never quite being entirely contained by narrative intention. It is Hana-Bi’s ability to resonate on multiple symbolic levels evoked by the fiction, while simultaneously exceeding the limits of explicit narrative discourse, that renders the film such an unusual and rich cinematic experience.
November 05, 2000
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The spaces Kitano evokes in Hana-bi, the aural, visual and narrative elisions, are coupled with the frantic violence and fast cutting of the action sequences which imbue the film with both a meditative and distinctly contemporary feel. Yet in many ways the film reflects the style and use of space of one of Japan’s most significant filmmakers of the past, Yasujiro Ozu.
June 07, 2000
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Unsuspecting viewers who – following the obligatory promotional nods to Quentin Tarantino – go expecting a mixture of cool thrills and low laughs from Hana-bi will be disappointed, even dismayed. It is a rigorous, understated, elliptical, often contemplative film – and one carrying a slowly building, emotional depth-charge.
September 01, 1998
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The movie is as full of shocking, staccato brutality as meditative calm. Several static compositions presented in satisfying long takes function as serene still lifes, and tight close-ups of sumptuous paintings and drawings (by Takeshi), with their saturated colors and surreal yet iconic imagery, are as forceful as the depictions of the gruesome maimings and killings that enable Nishi to keep the future at bay.
March 19, 1998
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