Monday Movie: Hana-Bi
Director, lead actor, writer, editor etc. etc. Takeshi Kitano reached widespread acclaim with this tale of a quiet, unassuming police officer trying to give his terminally ill wife a pleasant send-off - while dealing with the fallout of a bust gone wrong and the loan sharks who paid for her treatment.
Told in Kitano's inimitably static style, the relationship between husband Nishi and his unnamed wife at first seems reserved, even indifferent. But as the story progresses, the lengths that Nishi is prepared to go to for her become clear, and we're treated to touching insights into their understated love.
Hana-Bi is certainly a sober, softly spoken film, but it's by no means heavy. Kitano keeps things bittersweet and dryly humorous, interspersed with his trademark form of after-the-fact slapstick, and a moving score from Joe Hisaishi draws you into the gentle pace.