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Takeshi Kitano (Beat)

(1947- ). Actor, film director, comedian, author, poet, painter; one of Japan's most prominent media personalities. With the exception of his works as a film director, he is known almost exclusively by the name "Beat" Takeshi. Since April 2005, he has been a professor at the Graduate School of Visual Arts, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Kitano's films are usually dramas about yakuza gangsters or the police, characterized as being highly deadpan to the point of near-stasis. He often uses long takes where nothing appears to be happening or quick edits that cut immediately to the aftermath of an event. Many of his films express a bleak or nihilistic philosophy, but they are also filled with a great deal of humor and remarkable affection for their characters. Kitano's films paradoxically seem to leave controversial impressions. While formally disguised as dark comedies or gangster movies, his films raise moral questions and provide food for thought. While Kitano's international fame continues to rise as a result of his films, the Japanese public knows him primarily as a TV host and comedian. His crime drama Hanabi (Fireworks) won the Golden Lion award for best picture at the Venice Film Festival in 1997. Other films include Brother (2000), Dolls (2002), Battle Royale II (2003), and Zatoichi (2003, The Blind Swordsman). (from Wikipedia)

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