I feel … fermented


There’s plenty of evidence that artists can make decent movies – Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor Wood, Julian Schnabel to name a few – but it rarely works the other way around. Looking at Dennis Hopper’s goatee-stroking conceptual works, or Sylvester Stallone’s hamfisted attempts at abstract expressionism, you suspect they were misled into overestimating their talents by a coterie of star-struck sycophants. So when it was announced last year that Takeshi Kitano, Japan’s foremost film-maker, was holding an art exhibition in Paris, the alarm bells rang. Over the last 15 years, Kitano has turned out a series of spare, violent, existential thrillers, but increasingly his prime concern seems to be his own navel: last month saw the UK release of his 2005 film Takeshis’, a wilfully confusing essay exploring the many facets of Kitano’s personality. He followed that with the self-referential Glory to the Film-Maker, this time exploring the burden of being an important movie director. Variety magazine’s damning verdict? “Hailed as Kitano’s 8&½, pic weighs in closer to 1&¼”. And then there are the paintings. Anyone who has seen 1997’s Hana-Bi, Kitano’s best film, will be familiar with them: the movie is full of the director’s own artworks. At best, they are colourful, crafted examples of what you might call “the naive style”; at worst, they are the sort of amateurish doodles you might find at a flea market.

more from Steve Rose at The Guardian here.