Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kids Return

Kizzu Ritan; Drama, Japan, 1996; D: Takeshi Kitano, S: Masanobu Ando, Ken Kaneko, Leo Morimoto, Hatsuo Yamaya

Masaru and Shinji are two high school students who just cause mischief which is why all teachers already gave up on them and regard them as bums. They often go to the cinemas watching adult movies and sometimes even put the teacher's car on fire. They collect the money from all other students in order to be their "bodyguards", but one day new "masters" show up and beat them up. Masaru and Shinji enter a boxing club and leave school. Together, they try various jobs, from stand up comedy up to a taxi driver. Masaru leaves boxing and becomes a Yakuza member, while Shinji stays. He doesn't have success as a boxer, and Masaru isn't doing better either. As bums, they drive around their old school on a bike.

After his comedy "Getting Any?", Takeshi Kitano returned back to the drama genre with the heavy elegy "Kids Return" that serves as an indictment of the grey and empty Japanese society. Kitano is serious here, but his best part are those in the first half that describe the absurd mischief of Masaru and Shinji in school: they descend a puppet in front of the window of the class and use a string that moves a bottle up and down, that seems like a penis between the puppet's "legs"; they place a bullseye paper on a student and throw darts at him and when a colleague tells them he doesn't have any money, they force him to jump up and down, causing the noise of coins to be heard. The second half is a lot weaker and the arrogance of the spoiled school dropouts starts to go on one nerves, but Kitano knew how to keep the movie whole. He simply showed to young people without any perspective in life and displayed then in a static charge.


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