Directed by Takeshi Kitano, Japan 1999
116 mins. Japanese dialogue with English sub-titles
Best known for his stylish crime dramas, actor and director Takeshi Kitano takes a left turn into more heartwarming territory with this sentimental drama. Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) is a nine-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother. His father is dead and he's been told his mother is forced to live far away due to her job; he has no memory of her. One day, Masao decides it's high time he met his mother so, armed with a photograph and an address, he sets out in search of her. Before long, he encounters Kikujiro (Takeshi), a tough guy with a sharp tongue. Kikujiro and his wife think it's a bad idea for the little fellow to be traveling by himself, so Kikujiro (on his wife's insistence) hits the road with Masao to keep an eye on him. Masao and Kikujiro become close as they share adventures on the road, leading up to a troubling revelation about Masao's mother and Kikujiro's efforts to bring the child back to happiness.
What the Critics say:
"Leads with Kitano's exquisite timing and ability to mine both laughs and heartache in a single instant. It's a gorgeous take on alienation and guardianship."  (Brian Orndorf)