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Year: 1999
Takeshi Kitano and Yusuke Sekiguchi
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Producer: Masayuki Mori, Takio Yoshida
Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Yûko Daike, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Beat Kiyoshi, Great Gidayu, Rakkyo Ide, Nezumi Mamura
The Skinny: Heartwarming comedy about a foul-mouthed loser who is asked to take a quiet neighborhood boy to visit the mother who abandoned him. On their journey the man and boy meet up with some interesting characters, have a few adventures, and discover that they are not so different from each other after all.

     Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) is a lonely little boy who lives with his grandmother and has nothing to do for summer vacation. Kikujiro (Takeshi Kitano) and his wife (Kayoko Kishimoto) live in the neighborhood and pretty much just hang out all day. When Masao decides to go visit his mother who has abandoned him, Kikujiro's wife sends him along to watch over the boy on the long journey. In the beginning, Kikujiro takes advantage of the boy and uses him for gambling and to hitch rides. After a series of mishaps, all of which are the fault of Kikujiro, the pair arrives at their destination with unpredicted results.
     It is at this point in the film that things really take off. It turns out that Kikujiro has some maternal issues of his own and soon realizes that he and the boy share a lot in common. The two spend the rest of the film with two kind-hearted bikers and a travelling poet they met on the road. The four of them camp out in beautifully photographed rural Japan, playing games, fishing, stealing food, and basically behaving in a manner typical to what they are: kids. It is largely through the wonderful performances that writer/director Takeshi Kitano has perfectly captured what it is to be a kid. They have no money, very little food and still manage to have the best time of their lives playing in the woods.
     Of course, there is also the painful side of childhood and in Kikujiro, it boils down to the fact that children are very often at the mercy of adults. There is a lot of symbolism involving angels in this film, but it is hard to distinguish which character is supposed to be the savior of whom. Both man and boy give each other something they need and in the end, make each other's lives richer. Although it has its slow moments, Kikujiro is a wonderful film that is sure to leave the viewer feeling warm and tingly inside. It is a testament to the prolific talent of Takeshi Kitano that he can just as easily make a film of this nature as he can a violent Yakuza story. (Magicvoice 2003)


Region 3 NTSC
Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Language Track
Removable English, Spanish and French Subtitles Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen