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Born in 1947 in Adachi Ward, Tokyo. As 'Beat Takeshi' of the comic duo Two Beats, Kitano was one of the leading figures in bringing the manzai (stand-up comic duo) boom in the late 1970s. Throughout the 1980´s, he further extended his popularity to a nation-wide level and became one of the most popular entertainers in the country with his distinctive art of speech and his idiosyncratic perspective. Since then he continues to be the foremost TV personality in Japan today.

In 1989, with VIOLENT COP, he made his debut as film director 'Takeshi Kitano', playing the starring role as well. His unconventional framing and reality of violence brimming throughout the film brought a shock wave to Japanese cinema and the film was recognized as the birth of a new filmmaker. The film attracted some interests internationally as well, especially in Europe. Amongst them was a British film critic, Tony Rayns, who had highly acclaimed Kitano´s ability as an actor since Nagisa Oshima´s MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE (´82), where he made his international movie debut in the role of Sergeant Hara. While these film professionals programmed Kitano´s first film to be screened in various film festivals, his second feature, Boiling Point(´90), was given a Special Mention at Cinema Giovanni of the Turin International Film Festival. By this film, where he not only directed and played the supporting role, but also took part in writing the screenplay and editing, Kitano established his unique world of cinematic expression.

Taking on the role of director, writer, and editor, but without starring in it, Kitano made his third film, A SCENE AT THE SEA (´91). In the film, Kitano presented a mute hero, who was in complete contrast to his public image, the most loquacious comedian in the country, and further accented his artistic style. This film was invited to the Competition section of the Tokyo International Film Festival, and garnered many other domestic awards the same year. After this film, the demand for Kitano´s films from international film festival´s rapidly increased.

His fourth film SONATINE (´93) can, in a way, be regarded as a picture accumulating the essence of all of his films he had made before. It was premiered as an official entry to 'Un Certain Regard´ in the Cannes International Film Festival, and was supported not only by the film professionals and critics, but also the general audience. This phenomenon gave birth to many Kitanists (French term for Kitano´s ardent fans.) The film won the 'Cariddi D´oro´ award for best film at the Taormina Film Festival in 1994, and was chosen to be among 'The BBC 100,´ one of the 100 films of the world BBC selected to commemorate the centennial of cinema, along side with Akira Kurosawa´s SANJURO and RAN. In the same year Kitano took all of his four films to attend the London International Film Festival. He received feverish welcome, and was able to strengthen his ties with the European film professionals as well. In years that follow, his name slowly but gradually started to attract attention in the United States. Sonatine was picked up for US distribution by Rolling Thunder, Quentin Tarantino´s distribution label under MIRAMAX. He also made his debut in a Hollywood film in 1994 with Robert Longo´s JOHNNY MNEMONIC, where he starred opposite Keanu Reeves.

With GETTING ANY? (´95), as if challenging the stereotype his films had been receiving, Kitano attempted to visualize the world of nonsense comedy. With the film he tried to deconstruct Kitano films by himself (it was identical to deconstruct his own world of comedy as a comedian 'Beat' Takeshi), and he ended up deconstructing his own physique... with the motorcycle accident. During the recuperation period, the film was invited to the London International Film Festival. Kitano, however, was unable to attend and heard the news of raving reaction at the world premier of this film at his sickbed.

Kitano´s first film after the accident was his fifth film, KIDS RETURN(´96) and the second film he himself did not star in. 'Directors´ Fortnight´ section of the Cannes Film Festival became the stage for the world premier for the newly "resurrected" Kitano film. Appearing at Cannes for the first time, Kitano was received so enthusiastically, an unprecedented incident occurred; He was called back on stage to take another bow when the seemingly forever continuing standing ovation did not stop. The film gained distribution in an increasing number of countries, mainly in Europe; An exceptional case was that the Rotterdam Film Festival, one of the ardent supporters of Kitano films, purchased the distribution rights for the Netherlands.

HANA-BI (´98), his seventh film, was awarded the Golden Lion (Leone D´oro) for best film at the 54th Venice International Film Festival. This award was the result of Kitano´s focus to the world, with each of his film´s achieving worldwide acclaim one step at a time. The film also won the 'Screen International´ for best non-European film at the European Academy Awards and the 'Bandeira Paulista' award, Critics' Best Film, at the San Paulo Film Festival.

The news of Kitano´s eighth film, KIKUJIRO (´99) receiving a standing ovation at the Cannes International Film Festival (In Competition), is still fresh in our minds.
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