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**Beautifully restored in HD, this classic film is now released for the first time in North America on Blu Ray.**
**Winner of 19 awards, including the prestigious Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Int'l Film Festival.**
Former police officer Nishi feels responsible for the shattered lives of his loved ones. His partner Horibe has been crippled in a disastrous stakeout, a colleague is shot dead by the same villain, and his own wife has a terminal illness. In debt to a yakuza loanshark, Nishi conceives a bank robbery to provide for his partner, help the dead cop's widow, and take one last holiday throughout Japan with his wife and share a final taste of happiness. A highly original crime drama written, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano.
Bonus Features, include: Commentary by film writer for Rolling Stone magazine, David Fear; Making-of featurette.
Package, includes: Collector's Booklet, featuring essay by film writer, Jasper Sharp; cast and crew credits; chapter breaks; stills.
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Venice Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Toronto Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - New York Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Pusan Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Tokyo Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Fantasporto Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Singapore Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Karlovy Vary Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Helsinki Int'l Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Locarno Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Moscow Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Tallinn International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Camerimage Film Festival
...meticulously handsome, imaginatively edited...Hana-Bi shows off both [Kitano's] fierce and gentle talents. --Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Hana-Bi announces not only a new kind of 'cop movie' but a template for a new kind of Kitano film. - Jaime N. Christley, Slant Magazine (4 out of 4 Stars)
Glimmers of Kitano s deadpan humor peek through this rich and visually beautiful work that, for all its stylized violence, manages to convey stillness, sweetness, and affecting emotional depth. --Entertainment Weekly
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Directed by Takeshi Kitano, “Hana-Bi” (“Fireworks” is its English title) is composed of lengthy takes in which a lot happens, but often these takes are long shots. We are therefore like spectators at a stage play. Close-ups are a key director’s tool in conveying a character’s thoughts and emotions and emphasizing key dialogue.
When violence occurs, it is sudden and brutal with lots of blood spilled in the process. With Kitano doing quadruple duty as writer, director, editor and star, the movie has a distinctive mood of impending doom. Nishi is a basket case with constant visits by yakuza thugs intent on getting their money. These confrontations lead to a final showdown with the crime bosses.
“Hana-Bi” doles out significant pieces of the story gradually in order to create and sustain suspense. The movie is more about consequences than pure action, depicting Kitano’s day-to-day activities, numbed by overwhelming problems. Fans of cop thrillers might be disappointed that “Hana-Bi” is light on typical action, but those who enjoy a decent character study will appreciate how Kitano gets inside Nishi’s head and shows his battle against spirit-crushing circumstances.
Bonus materials on the widescreen Blu-ray release include audio commentary, a critical essay, and the featurette “The Making of Hana-Bi.” The unrated film is in Japanese, with English subtitles.
Having taken an unauthorized break from his police stakeout, Nishi's long-time partner Hirobe is attacked, an event which leaves him paralyzed. Struggling with his guilt, Nishi leaves the police force to spend time caring for his ailing wife. He wants her final days to be the best he can possibly provide, and this leads him to a series of bad choices made involving the Yakuza (Japanese mafia). However, every attempt to bring balance to his life only drives Nishi deeper and deeper into desperation and desperate acts ... all the while maintaining the calm, cool exterior of man with his own sense of justice behind his purpose.
This film is meticulously constructed: each of every scene has purpose, and many of them serve several. As is common to Kitano's films, moments of pure calm are juxtaposed with percussive scenes of unanticipated violence in a way very few films have successfully captured and managed to maintain a message.