Hello from China! It’s a pleasure to be a part of the Blogcritics team. Living in China has been great for many reasons, but one of the biggest has been the abundance of DVDs. One of my first purchases was Zatoichi, a film by Takeshi Kitano. I had heard many good things about the movie and I am a fan of the television series and previous films. Kitano proves himself once again as an Auteur. He wrote, directed, edited, and starred in this film. Like many of Kitano’s other films, Zatoichi is quite violent. One of my initial complaints about the film was that the blood was very fake looking thanks to the CGI. According to the IMDB page, Kitano did this intentionally, wanting to “soften the shock to the audience” due to the high body count. Kitano told the CGI artist he wanted the blood to “look like flowers blossoming across the screen.” That makes sense to me.
Some might be quick to label this film as a standard Japanese gore-fest, but Kitano did so much more than that. Yes, the violence is there, but there is also much beauty in the film. The scenery is beautiful and well shot. Music plays a key role. One of my favorite scenes was a sequence that used a group of farmers as a percussion section, a la Stomp. This could easily have come off as cheesy, but it was executed very well. Kitano breathes new life into this timeless tale. I highly recommend it.
As I said, I’m happy to be a part of the Blogcritics team. I’m looking for suggestions on Asian films to watch and review, so feel free to comment with your favorites or any films you might be curious about.