Kitano Takeshi, a contemporary icon of Japanese cinema, is to receive a lifetime achievement award next month at the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.
“A legendary artist on Friday the 29th of April will receive the Golden Mulberry Award for lifetime achievement on the stage of FEFF 24,” the festival announced Friday with barely concealed delight.
Kitano who has film credits as writer, director, producer and performer, as well as a whole TV comedy career, is known for the brutal sergeant he played alongside David Bowie and Sakamoto Ryuichi in Oshima Nagisa’s “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” and for incursions into Hollywood in “Johnny Mnemonic” and “Ghost in the Shell.”
His Japanese oeuvre ranges from fine art to gangster genre thriller. He has credits in film noir (“Violent Cop”), romance (“A Scene at the Sea”), drama masterpieces (“Sonatine,” “Kids Return,” Venice Golden Lion-winner “Hana-bi,” “Kikujiro,” “Dolls” swordplay (“Zatoichi”) and hard-boiled cult saga “Outrage.”
“For Far East Film Festival 24, a truly incredible dream comes true: the dream of bringing one of the giants of world cinema to Udine. An artist who for more than thirty years has been walking side by side with anyone who loves cinema – and not just Asian cinema,” said festival organizers.
“There are artists – actors, writers, singers – who walk by our side our whole life. Artists who never abandon us and who always satisfy our need for beauty. We find them in a movie, or a book, or a song, and it feels like coming home – like stopping the hands of time. No matter how much we change or how far we move, there they are. Reassuring. Solid. Necessary. And without a shadow of a doubt, Takeshi Kitano is one of them.”
Netflix last year released a biopic of Kitano, “Asakusa Kid.” The film was based on a memoir of the same title written by Kitano with director and scriptwriter comic Gekidan Hitori. The focus of the story is the relationship between the young Kitano, starting when he was working at a strip club in the Tokyo entertainment district of Asakusa, and Fukami, who was the club’s reigning comic.