Thought it might interest people around here! Taken from the official notes, here’s Takeshi Kitano talking about Outrage, his new yakuza film:
ON YAKUZA FLICKS
For a long time, I was often questioned why I made yakuza flicks. Then, as the years passed since 2000’s BROTHER (my last film focusing on yakuza), a lot of people started asking me why I stopped making movies about yakuza. So now I guess maybe people will ask me why I decided after a decade to “return” to making a movie about yakuza. Well, the answer is simply that I wanted to. I found it amusing and interesting before and I had not made one in a while. There’s nothing wrong with doing one now and then. But I definitely don’t consider it a “return” to the yakuza films that I’ve made in the past. With every new film, I’m always looking to try new things. On OUTRAGE, I’m working within the yakuza genre structure, but I did try and play around with twists in the storyline. And I did look for new ways to orchestrate violent and murderous tactics.
ON FILMING VIOLENCE
People have said that filming violence is one of my specialties, and I think I’m pretty good at it, as well. I feel pretty confident that I can do that sort of thing anytime. It’s like asking an experienced Japanese chef to cook the very everyday katsu-don (breaded pork cutlet on rice). Of course, he thinks that he can make katsu-don in his sleep. Well, filming violence is my katsu-don. It’s a dish that I’m always ready to prepare. And I hope that my katsu-don is more delicious than everyone else’s… Joking aside, I intentionally shoot violence to make the audience feel real pain. I have never and I will never shoot violence as if it’s some kind of action video game.
Most of the roles that I’ve played in my films have been rather quiet and those characters had a certain coolness with few words. In OUTRAGE, I intentionally made the characters speak a lot more.The entire film consists of sleazy yakuza speaking freely. What I find interesting is that the yakuza in OUTRAGE don’t keep their cool at all. Everyone is constantly screaming and yelling at each other. They’re pretty embarrassing. There is even a segment where the actors overlap each other’s dialogue in a rhythm similar to my manzai style. I had never tried doing this in my previous films, so it was very amusing for me to have characters constantly calling each other asshole.
ON BALANCING THE ENSEMBLE
Although it’s set within yakuza society, there are ideas that everyone in our modern world can surely relate to. What unfolds in OUTRAGE is similar to what goes on in other organizations or clans in politics, corporate culture or even academia. It’s all about a game of survival among self-serving men. Although pledged to a group, the characters act independently and only think about themselves. Since the film is an ensemble piece without a single protagonist at the center, I had to take special care to balance the characters. During the script work, I was constantly trading lines and actions between characters. Similarly, I had to pay careful attention to camera angles and shot variety, as well. I was constantly thinking about balance. I’m sure that if I had focused on a single main character, this film would have loss some dynamism. The result is that all the characters entwine with each other.
ON WORKING WITH NUMEROUS CHARACTERS
My scripts always originate from images. Already in the casting process, I had a chart with arrows connecting character names to the actors’ photographs. I used this chart to figure out balances between the clans and their sworn brothers. I also didn’t want certain actors with strong features to overshadow the others. Even with all this, I didn’t have to change the characteristics of my image that much. During the shoot, I was open to seeing if the actors moved as I imagined the characters. Sometimes they actually moved better than I had hoped or sometimes what I saw led to a different image from what I had originally imagined. When that happened, I made the necessary script adjustments. Some directors are headstrong about sticking to the shooting script to the point of even forcing an actor to do something unnatural. I don’t think our modern times grant us with such time, so to move forward, I chose to tailor the script to the actors.
ON WORKING WITH NEW ACTORS
All of the actors in OUTRAGE were new to working with me, so they were probably carefully checking me out at first. In return, I was checking them out too. With the group of actors that I’m used to working with, things run very smoothly. But I think that a certain kind of tension on a set can be good too. There were no setbacks at all. I actually think it was good since it was so fresh. There were some actors whose acting technique I had never staged before in a film. I saw things that I had not experienced before with my usual actors. I thought about asking them not to act the way they did, but then I decided that it might even be better that what I had imagined, so I decided to work with their acting style.
ON THE SCORE
The music in OUTRAGE was composed by Keiichi Suzuki, who collaborated with me on ZATOICHI. I specifically told him that I didn’t want the music to stand out. I didn’t even want it to sound like real music. I’m assuming that my music will not be used on popular TV shows this time. In the past, music from my films usually ends up behind the narration on coverage of crimes. I don’t think that will happen this time. I intentionally wanted the music to sound like a failed recording. I wanted it to sound like clatter, like noise. The intention was to have the soundtrack more like effects rather than music. I also requested no use of any clear percussion sounds. I preferred sounds like beating on a bucket. I wanted to keep the sounds rough but still maintain rhythm. Yet, I didn’t want too much rhythm either, so I ended up taking many of the sounds out.
ON MODERN YAKUZA
Recent times are probably interesting for yakuza. I hear they are pretty good with information technology and they establish subsidiary companies, raising sure-fire stock profits by threatening others. I guess they make a lot more money that way, but that sounded less exciting to me as a subject for a film. Then again I’m not too keen on depicting traditional yakuza from the late 19th to early 20th century either — dice gambling and all that. So I went for something in-between. I’m interested in their recent past when they use firearms and shoot each other and make money from protecting bars and pubs. The goal is to get more money and power. Since they fight to win, they have to one-up the others by any means necessary. They’re not about playing fair or being nice. We never know who will be the last to survive.
Via Film Press Plus