May 26, 2022

Fireworks (1997)

Hana-bi released in the United States as Fireworks, is a 1997 Japanese crime drama film written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano, who also stars in it. The film's score was composed by Joe Hisaishi in his fourth collaboration with Kitano. Hana-bi is the Japanese word for "fireworks." Although it was not a big success financially, Hana-bi received critical acclaim and won the Golden Lion award at the 54th Venice International Film Festival and numerous other accolades. Kitano himself said it was not until he won the Golden Lion that he was accepted as a serious director in his native Japan; his prior films had been looked at as just the hobby of a famous comedian.

Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions.
Freddy and Krasnaya Movie Review

F: Kitano again. When I chose this category (check here) for our themed week, I was expecting a little bit more action from the Yakuza. Fireworks follows the same line from the previous movie we watched. It's very introspective and has a slow meditative pace. Yesterday I just wasn't in the mood for this, so I became a little bored. I wanted a romanticized, suspenseful, stylish and bloody Yakuza story. I hope tomorrow I will be luckier.

K: Freddy, you're right. Fireworks continues Kitano's style - it is shot in a traditionally concise manner, with a lot of static scenes that are designed to set the viewer in a contemplative manner. And, as always, with great musical accompaniment from Joe Hisaishi, (you can listen below our ratings).

Chopstick in the eye is an ancient technique
It seems like Japanese people bleed way more than usual. 🤔
F: This movie has a driving point similar to the one from another Japanese movie we watched recently, "Drive My Car". The main protagonists lost their child and now they are dealing with that hard situation. The wife doesn't die like in "Drive My Car", but she's about to. I did have a nightmare today about losing my daughter, probably because of the movie. My daughter was still a baby and she was inside the car. We, the parents, were outside and the car started moving backwards and gaining speed. We saw the car crash after doing some zig zags and it was awful. Anyone here able to interpret this dream? Thanks.

K: What a horrible dream you had! It's the effect of the movie, definitely, and of the paintings you saw, I think. You know, the character of Kitano Mishi, just like in other films, does not talk much, he is not particularly emotional. This is probably why I believe him when emotions finally show through; when he nervously lights a cigarette or smiles when starting fireworks with his beloved wife. The scenes with his wife are so touching - my favorite scenes in this film, actually. Fireworks became very personal for Takeshi Kitano. Horibe's story is the epitome of the pain of Takeshi himself, who, it turns out, went through a similar situation in 1994 in a motorcycle accident. Horibe's paintings that appear in the film are made by Kitano - and they are very distinctive.

Bang, bitch.
What happened here??
F: It was nice to see the usual gang from Kitano movies, now on the other side of the force. Yakuza members turned into doctors and policemen, but that was it. I can't take away any memorable moments from this movie. I was bored and sometimes I would even lose my attention. I wasn't able to be invested in the characters. The story just didn't interest me and I was not in the mood to interpret every symbolic little thing. I did enjoy that "suicide" painting also. Kitano is a really prolific artist!

K: For me, the film turned out to be sincere both in its cruelty and its tenderness. It is also very philosophical. To us, the end of the film may seem tragic, but to the Japanese it is not. Shinju for them means unity of hearts - the highest form of love.

Kitano's painting talents.
I love this painting.
Freddy's Score: 39/100
Krasnaya's Score: 70/100




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