Striking A New Beat

For the first time on film, Takeshi Kitano looks harmless. He's sitting on a rock in a rural Japanese nowhere, eyes shut. A band of thieves enters the frame and sees what the audience sees: an old blind man, easy pickings. Two swaggering ruffians approach with swords drawn. Kitano pricks an ear—and faster than a whirring Cuisinart, they're in pieces on the ground, and Kitano is wiping the blood from his blade. The lesson is clear: whether he's blind or not, you don't tug on Superman's cape.

Stand-up comic, TV host, auteur—Takeshi Kitano has never been shy about...

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