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  • This movie represents the first leading role Beat Takeshi has taken in more than a decade in a movie he didn't direct. The advance reviews of his performance were enthusiastic, and his powerful depiction of the violent and controlling Kim Shunpei more than lives up to the notices. Still, the film itself is a flawed creation; unable to pack all of the critical backstory of the original best-selling book even into a 140-minute film, the director settles for presenting a series of scenes that cycle repeatedly between set-up, violent outburst, and aftermath , with little connecting tissue and almost no effort to explain how or why the main character became the dangerous 'monster' he is. With leaps of years and even decades between scenes, it's clear that many of the book's defining incidents failed to make the screenplay, and while the lead and supporting performances are almost uniformly fine, I left the theater exhausted from the violence but feeling nothing for the victims--Kim's family, neighbors and employees--of it. (It is also probable that foreign audiences, not familiar with the cultural, political, and social issues surrounding the ethnic Korean community in Japan, will have trouble appreciating the crucial nuances of language and expression, most of which are unlikely to survive the subtitling process).
  • Yoichi Sai's long film is about a Korean immigrant (to Japan), played by Takeshi Kitano, who cares about nothing but his own pleasure and gain. His destructive personality and violent temper decimate everything and everyone around him. Based on a true story, the script does not attempt to explain or justify Kitano's character. It presents him without judgment.

    The rapes and beatings (mostly of family members) are relentless and occasionally surreal. One brutal exchange between father and son takes place during a rainstorm and is visually arresting. Another sequence, where father and son respectively destroy each other's homes, has a dark, humorous edge.

    The director chooses his shots carefully and recreates the periods in which the film is set (circa 1923 to the mid-80's) effectively but never ostentatiously.

    Although there is much repetition, the film does serve up a smörgåsbord of atrocities for exploitation fans. The treatment of women is harsh. One beating, in particular, of a young woman by her coarse husband, is strong stuff indeed and flawlessly conveys the cycle of violence a perpetrator creates within his own circle and extended family.

    Clearly given a generous budget and clearly a labor of love, BLOOD AND BONES is well worth seeing and should not be forgotten.

    Kitano is extraordinary.
  • In 1923, the Korean teenager Kim Shun-Pei (Takeshi Kitano) moves from Cheju Island, in South Korea, to Osaka, in Japan. Along the years, he becomes a cruel, greedy and violent man and builds a factory of kamaboko, processed seafood products, in his poor Korean-Japanese community exploring his employees. He makes fortune, abuses and destroys the lives of his wife and family, having many mistresses and children and showing no respect to anybody. Later he closes the factory, lending the money with high interests and becoming a loan shark. His hatred behavior remains until his last breath, alone in North Korea.

    "Chi to Hone" is an extremely realistic, sad and cruel movie about the life of one of the most hideous characters I have ever see. The impressive story has a fantastic direction, awesome interpretations and Takeshi Kitano is simply stunning. The scenes of rape, fight and brutality are amazingly well choreographed and real. The cinematography and art direction present a reconstitution along decades of Osaka, supported by one of the most beautiful soundtracks of the cinema. I regret only my lack of knowledge of Japanese and Korean histories for a full understanding of some historical moments showed along the years. This masterpiece is absolutely underrated in IMDb. My vote is nine.

    Title (Brazil): "Consumido Pelo Ódio" ("Consumed by Hate")
  • mavruda197728 November 2006
    I was totally stunned with this one. As Kitano is my favorite actor from the Japanese cinema, I found this movie depressing, disgusting, sad, desperate - as it should be. A great movie. Beat Takeshi did great job with this one. My primary feelings was: Im glad,I don't have a living like these people do. Im glad that Kitano show me another aspect of real life somewhere from the bottom. The movie is not rushing anywhere - the scenes talks themselves. Sex, violence, silent relations. He showed us a man that exist, a man that we all fear. A man who has a life anyways. I agree with edison-chang who said it is a Great Piece of depressing Junk - yes, it is. But someone said: In the eye of the beast - a tear. May be there was a small grain of humanity left in the hero of Kitano. May be ?!?

    I've read some of the comments below. And I see people disappointed. Some of you does not find any sense in motion picture of Kitano. Some of you found it a clueless junk. I find it brilliant - and we are all right. The true is that Kitano always plays gangsters in his movies. Mostly gangsters. Why is he so violent?! Because it need to be - the gangsters found their way in the society by being violent. In this movie he is gangster too. He takes what he wants and being passive is the only opportunity for people around him - thats the misery. Such places exist - such persons do exist - everything seems to be real and I find it real. Being violent gives you some preferences - you get the money, the business of other people, you get the women you want and you can do whatever you want without being punished... that the movies shows and we all know that that kind of people always get away from the justice. Sad. Real. Hatred. Force. Violence. Fear. Thats the life on the bottom. And no one could help you - it is not good being a victim.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's been a while since Kitano Takeshi concentrated on acting in a movie i.e. not also directing (in both Gohatto and Battle Royale, which he did not direct, he had only a small role). "Bloob and bones" gives us Kitano in top form, with award-winning calibre performance. Be warned though that this is a brutal, joyless movie, lacking even the relieving Kitano humour because he did not direct it. Watching this movie, I terribly missed the warmth in Kurosawa's movies even when they depict the same realistic, brutal world. I particularly miss Kurosawa's "Red beard".

    Kitano plays Kim, as a Korean who immigrated in the early 20's, as a teenager, to Osaka, Japan. Told with voice over of his son, the story takes the audience right to Kim's old age, when he dies in bleak North Korea, in loneliness, with only his youngest son digging his grave in the snow. While the temporal scope is epic, the spatial scope is limited to almost entirely the street where Kim lives most of his life, first as a small fish cake factory owner, then a loan shark. This movie is long, repetitive, brutal, humourless, but not boring mainly because there is a big ensemble of support characters.

    There is first of all his wife who came to him with a daughter from a scandalous affair. There is his brother who married his step-daughter, thus becoming his step-son-in-law. There are his own daughter and son, that we first see as kids, the latter being also the voice over narrator of the entire movie. There is the young man who turned up at his door, announcing himself to be his son from a rape. There is his daughter's husband, a wretch she married just to get out of his influence. There is a young man, an idealist "poet communist" who would have been his daughter's saviour had he not been thrown in jail when she needed him most. There is his favourite sensual mistress, who unfortunately was unable to bear him a child, and later became totally incapacitated after a brain tumour operation. There is the woman that he hired to look after the invalid who was his mistress, and became herself his mistress instead and bore some children, including a son. There are his two biggest debtors, the first killing himself and the other somehow died when he sent gangsters after them.

    But in the end, this is a movie about a man that would become the object of the audiences' absolute detestation at the end of the movie. And yet it is Kitano's piece of brilliant acting that makes this man real, understandable if not forgivable, rather than a loathsome caricature. Through Kitano's portrayal, we see a man who has never been taught compassion, alienated in a hostile environment, beating down (literally) anything that is in his way – a man surviving on his natural, animal instincts. And yet, in these raw instincts we do see a small glimpse of kindness in the way he cares for the invalid who was once his favourite sex object. Don't expect to see tenderness because this man is not capable of any, but remember that this woman has failed him in a worst way, in not being able to produce any offspring. She could have incurred his brutal wrath but in the scene when he bathed her (she looked ghastly and couldn't even talk, coming back from the brain surgery), we see the closest to tenderness that this man is capable of.

    This is not an easy movie to watch but should not be missed by those who have enjoyed Kitano's acting all these years. Stay through the end credit. You may not be able to read Japanese but in complete contrast to the hellish mood of the movie, the piece of string orchestration during the end credit is heavenly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was really keen on seeing this film and now that i have i'm totally disappointed. The director of this movie is so ambitious to give the viewer a movie of epic proportions that he has just forgotten to put a story into it. Kitano does his best to give his two-dimensional role of the rapist/husband some depths, the other actors are all very good and the cinematography has the charm of photographs of the past but there is no possibility to actually care for any of the characters. The movie is such a bric-a-braque that you won't even learn anything at all about it's narrator, Kitanos son Masao. I have no problem with movies this violent but when you don't suppose to feel anything for the victims it is a waste of time, and for 144 Min. a very long one. In my eyes Yoichi Sai is a bad director because he hasn't put his heart into something that could have been a fascinating movie.
  • This great movie is not just a study of domestic violence. It's much more than that. It's a historical document of the life in Japan roughly from WWII to the 1970'. It shows the life of Korean immigrants in Japan, the constant latent hostility between the Japanese and the Koreans, the difficulty to have a reasonable life in Japan during that time, the way of life in Japan for the "simple folk", the strong hierarchy in the family and in business, and many more aspects. This movie is not entertaining as such and is certainly not fun to watch, it's brutal and often makes you sick. But you can learn more about domestic violence and about the Japanese way of life than in any other way. The script and the actors are great and everything is not just authentic but REAL. So you should not watch this movie for fun but because the subjects are so very important and because you will learn so much – even if you know Japan quite well already.
  • This is the tale of Joon-pyong Kim, who immigrates to Osaka from Korea as a teenager in the 1920's. The film flashes about 10-15 years forward and it turns he's a horrendous wife beater with a successful fish cake business. This film reminded me a little of Scarface: replace gang violence with the domestic variety and cocaine with fishcakes.

    As in Scarface, the main character is devoid of compassion, mean, violent and you loathe him. In this respect the film succeeds with a very good performance by Kitano.

    Where it fell short for me is Joon-pyong's life is kind of uninteresting. I liked the idea of a true story of a Korean immigrant trying to make it in Japanese society, through two wars and with all the racial strife.. but this theme was really a side bar to the depressing and unrelenting abuse Joon-pyong's family endures.

    The film does succeed in demonstrating cycles of domestic violence and how a man can be successful in business and yet have a totally failed family life. But I think this theme was firmly established 1/2 hour into the film, and the film continues in that vein, not really introducing any highs or lows or change, in the next two hours.

    The film has some good components but as another review said, there's nothing here to really cheer about.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The narrator tells us the story of his father, a Korean who emigrates to Japan as a young man in the 1930's-ish. There, he turns out to be quite the bastard - selfish, violent, abusive and miserly. He gets married and has a few kids, then runs off with another woman and all the while inflicts suffering on everyone around him. Until he dies.

    Why is he such a bastard? We are never offered an explanation... too many X chromosomes? (or Y, whatever). Is he going to learn, change or grow? Nope. Is his son going to rise up against him and break free from his bad dad? Not really. Will he learn to love his dad despite his flaws, because a rotten father is still a father? Doesn't appear to.

    The film is quite compelling for most of the first 90 minutes, in a cheerless sort of way, but there's still most of an hour left by then... and the film doesn't really go anywhere. The years pass by and people only become more passive in their misery until age, disease or their own hand puts an end to it. Nobody seems to learn anything, nothing is accomplished and there's no obvious lesson about life to be gleaned from the 2.5 hours of glacially paced misery. What is the point? No idea.

    Perhaps it's just to see Takeshi Kitano at various stages of advancing age, under the hands of the makeup team. Moderately interesting, but the makeup only sometimes looks convincing... and different members of the cast seem to age at inconsistent rates (in sudden bursts, usually).

    There could have been a good film here, and the first half pretty much is... but it fritters away the good will it had earned in the remaining time and definitely runs longer than it should, leaving a broadly negative impression when the credits roll.
  • I'd watch Blood and Bones for one reason, and that's for 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano. Local audiences will probably remember him in recent roles from Battle Royale, Brother, and Zatoichi. Here, he plays Jyombion Kim, one of the early pioneer Koreans who emigrated to Japan.

    From the start, the narration tells us the story of this one man and his life, from a teenager, until his deathbed. And he's a violent man at that, always with a drink in hand, which brings out the worst in him. If he wants to copulate, he makes sure he does. If he wants to whack the living daylights out of a person, or family member, he does too. He's Mr Domestic Violence personified, with cruel beatings to get his way. From opening a fishcake business, to loan-sharking, his aloof, and philandering ways created his extended dysfunctional family, their trials and tribulations. He is an independent, wandering soul, and will probably provide for an interesting character study.

    Besides the nice cinematography, the beautiful soundtrack is probably what made it easy to go through this excruciating slow paced movie. If you're not careful, you might nod off at time. The material might be uncomfortable for some; though there was violence, there isn't much gore.

    Weaved throughout the show at various points, is the look into the treatment of these Korean immigrants in Japan, the discrimination and difficulties faced in living in another's homogeneous society. There are many characters in the movie - sons, daughters, in-laws, half-siblings, wives, mistresses, that you'll probably be able to create a neat family tree if you link all of them on paper. But don't expect too much story on the ensemble of characters, most of them get their focus at various points, then are quietly dispatched to the background.

    It's an awfully sad tale, nothing in it that will make you cheer. But there is something to cheer about the movie though, and that it is shown here uncut and unedited. Meaning you get to see it as it was intended, including male genitalia.
  • The Korean born Japanese director Yoichi Sai brings the tale of family violence to the screen, which is based on the adaptation of Yan Sogil's same title novel.

    With Takeshi Kitano playing the leading patriarch Kim Joong Pyong, the story begins in Osaka, Japan in 1923. Kim, a native Korean who left Cheju Island from Korea, reaches Osaka, hoping to find a better life.

    When harsh reality makes his dream a far cry from where he stands, he resorts to violence and stubbornness to achieve his goal. He rapes Yong Hee (Masai Suzuki), another Korean immigrant, and they get married, and have a son named Masao, and a daughter named Hanako. He opens a fishcake factory and abuses his workers in long hour work, together with his barbaric behavior, which is an idea he strongly believes in. As time goes by, he earns a fortune, which makes him creating the second path of wealth: loan shark. At an extremely high interest and hard pressures on anyone who borrows from him, he was left with nothing but money and mistresses.

    Years passes and his family is still under his pressure, which eventually leads to the fall of the family.

    Bllood and Bones is a tale of family violence from a ruthless man who attempts to dominate what is around him. Raw and direct to your face, this is certainly not a family friendly tale on how a man repents from the sins he committed to his family.

    Being a Korean immigrant in Japan, Yoichi Sai knows best on the facts of the Korean community living in Japan in the previous century, and how the first generation Korean immigrant blends their culture in the Japan society during the post Depression era and World War 2. While the film is portraying the glorious side of how the Koreans seek better life in Japan, it is not a smooth path they are taking. They are still faced with the discrimination of the Japanese as a second rate citizen, even though Japan wants Korea to join forces during World War 2.

    Back home, Joon Pyong terrorizes the family thru endless violence, both physical and emotional. Workers were abused, creditors were driven to death, lust for beautiful women and endless physical relationship and abuse on the mistresses were just part of Joon Pyong's lifestyle. Yoichi Sai is not reaping the seed of fear in the audience, creating a negative impression. More rather, these are the bare naked facts that happens around us, even till today. The harsh environment in a developing country makes Joon Pyong's behavior, unfortunately, a norm to him.

    As the title says, Blood and Bones. No blood were seen, no bones were broken. Instead, it's the emotion that bleeds and breaks into pieces, which can be explained by the downfall of the Kim family. And Takeshi Kitano's performances makes everyone bleed and left broken.

    Blood and Bones is not a feel good movie of any kind. It makes you want to stop more people from bleeding, and breaking into pieces.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie wasn't exactly my first choice of a show to watch on a Sunday afternoon, but it was what my husband was very keen to catch, so we saw it. Barely a few minutes into the movie, i had to watch a violent marital rape scene, and i thought "oh oh..i don't think i'm going to like this movie at all." However, as we left the cinema as the credits rolled, i told my husband that as hard as it was to watch this movie, i still found it compelling and in a strange, sad sort of way, i enjoyed it. i think if i summarized, it was the story of the life of a violent man who did what he wanted, when he wanted, with whom he wanted with nary an iota of regard for another human being. It was the story of how he lived and how he died, as seen thru the eyes of his son.
  • This movie has the most powerful and devilish but the weakest hero in the whole movie history. You must see this movie and you will love it. This movie has the big aura that doesn't matter for any century or place.

    If you didn't see any Asian or Japanese movie, and if you are true hard-boiled fan, this is must try.

    Takeshi Kitano played his best acting in this movie. He played one man's 30's to death.

    Yoichi Sai, the director of this movie, shows the power of one man who are faced the war and the pain who had to deal with it. But it's not sympathy movie.

    One more, this is not action movie, it shows one man's life, but this is more spectacle than any other action movie.
  • Blood and Bone might as well be called 'Once Upon A Time In Japan' for the strong resemblance it bears to Sergio Leone's epic account of the immigrant experience in post-war America. The immigrants in Yoichi Sai's unrelentingly violent film are Korean, displaced there after the Japanese occupation, the country and any national identity further destabilised after Japan's defeat in the war. Arriving in Osaka in 1923, Kim Shunpei is determined to make a better life for himself, and when he returns from the war sets up a fish-cake factory, expanding later into the loan shark business. His explosively violent temperament however means that he leaves behind him a trail of death and destruction that doesn't even spare his family.

    Well-known for violence in his own gangster movies, 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano takes brutality to monstrous proportions in a performance of remarkable and terrifying intensity, but you could tire very quickly of him punching women in a yet another appalling rampage. In some ways however Kitano is just too big a personality, even for such an epic film, overshadowing any finer points it might have made about the Korean-Japanese experience.
  • Tyrone_Slothrop21 April 2005
    Apparently this movie set out to make its viewers feel bad, and it certainly worked for me. This is one of the dullest scripts I have seen turned into movie lately. Having read sk4ek's comment on this, maybe it would be fair to add that it was made from a novel, and I watched the subtitled version (and I don't understand Japanese), so it seems I probably didn't get a lot of what made the novel good. Anyway, the script is all about what a gargantuan a**hole Kitano's character is, but whatever else happens just doesn't add much to the story. Just imagine the worst things a father could possibly do to his family, sequence them on a timeline, and you have the plot of this movie. But there simply is no character evolvement, no turning point, nothing that gives an interesting twist to things, they only keep getting worse.

    ***mild spoiler below***

    Once I thought the story was going to take off, when another illegitimate son of A**hole Father moved in with the family, finally someone who had the potential to give a swerve to the plot line. After being defeated in a fistfight, he tells the boy who narrates the whole story to study hard, walks away and gets shot ten days later off screen. Segue boring story continued. The cinematography is alright, but not outstanding, and not enough to save this movie.
  • also can't understand, and this goes for many great movies. So for all those who called the movie "boring", you should open up a ?uckin history book (or a bunch)-then watch the movie again. BloodtoBone is like a "Izo" sort of film, where the full effect of the story, characters, and history must be understood. Otherwise, it will definitely be boring/ and or /horrific.

    In terms of cinematic presentation & visual representation, the film gets high marks. Fun factor? Depends on your knowledge of Japanese/Korean history. The subtitles are pretty $hitty, and doesn't fully represent the actual duologue.

    This film isn't for everyone, and especially those who don't like to understand perspectives which they do not.

    MoulAe OaKLanD,CA 510UBEEZYz
  • f54268 August 2005
    I found "Chi to hone" very boring and repetitive. No back story I could understand. No way to understand the actions of Kitano, or most of the other members of his family.

    I thought I was seeing a weird Asian crossing between "Once Upon a Time in America" and "Brutti sporchi e cattivi" (Ettore Scola's "Ugly Dirty and Bad"), without the powerful story those film have, and didn't enjoyed it.

    Cinematography is below average, acting is very good, but overall the movie makes no sense. It may be because I don't understand much of Japan/Korea history, but I generally appreciate Japanese movies (from Kitano's to Kurosawa).

    It is clear that a lot of time was spend in the sets and the reconstruction of the 40's, 50's and 60's in the movie, and a lot of details looks real. But all seems very pointless.

    There are some sexual scenes that are very hard to see, mostly because they are quite repetitive and don't make the story move.

    The bottom line: you probably have better to do with your time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Many of you complained that there is no reason behind his violence. This is because there is no personal attachment between the protagonist and mass audiences. Personal attachment is beyond cinematography, storyline, or even the acting skills. To me, i was feeling watching myself, i had tears dropping in two scenes: he washed for his wife after she had the brain surgery, he could not stand up after his leg was half paralyzed. Same sad feeling emerged when i was watching when Derek's mother Jew boyfriend questioned Derek: ' What are you doing Derek, this is your family.' (American History x)

    Sometimes, u need reason to justify violence outburst of behavior in films, sometimes you don't, for example, why did Leather face kill people? Why did the gangster in Gangster no 1 being so violence? Why did Tommy DE Vito shoot the poor waiter on the foot, then in the stomach three times later on? The reasons were there, but it is not necessary to explain clearly. Regular audiences need reasons for violence to feel better about rampage. It's enough for me to know that Tommy DE Vito, the gangster, Niki Santora, leather face had the ability to kill in any necessary situations according to their standard. This case is the same, he will never change, even when he was crippled, walking with a crane, he still wanted to execute violence, because it's in his blood, he has no emotional control ever when being disrespected. Renoir, the director of Grand Illusion stated that ' Evertbody has his/her reason.' Which indicated that the reason is not necessary to be explained in films, it's enough to know that every one has a reason for pattern of behavior.

    In the end, he managed to donate a large sum of finance to the Korean government. And it was used to build schools, hospitals, and aided million plus citizens. Although he did mentally and physically destroy his own family. But he is still a hero to me. I am not saying that what he did was right, but a perfect hero only appears in a Cinderala man. Another reason for his violence in the film is the reflection of the Korean society culture of lowing the self esteem of women back in the days. Anyway, i wish you can admire the film in another perception, it is really a rare masterpiece.
  • Blood and Bones is a violent epic story whose hero is a Zainichi Korean which is the name of the ethnic Koreans settled in Japan, many of them during the first half of the 20th century when Korea was under Japanese rule. Director Yoichi Sai's father was a Zainichi Korean, so the social medium must be well known to him. His ambitious project describes the tough life of the community through the story of the life of Joon-pyong Kim who comes as a young and hopeful immigrant before WWII to get enrolled in the Japanese army, and at the return to embark in a life of crime, violence and family abuse which sees his ascension to and decay, while confining most of the action in the space of the same street in the Korean immigrants district.

    The ambition of the project and the breath of the epic brought me to mind the parallel to 'The Godfather'. The combination between a family saga and the crime environment may be the same, but there is one crucial difference between Sai's and Coppola's films - while both characters are similarly despicable in crime, the attitudes to their families are radically different. For Coppola's characters family values are at the highest possible level, while Sai's character (magistrally acted by Takeshi Kitano) is a violent tyrant, causing suffering to everybody he gets in touch with, harming them physically and psychically and destroying their lives. It is almost the most perfect study in evil I have seen since Hannibal Lecter, just missing his wit and sophistication.

    There is a lot to appreciate in this film, starting with Kitano's performance and that of the rest of the team, passing through the fluent story telling, and ending with the refined cinematography which uses basically the same set for the duration of the action (which spreads on many decades) marking the passing of time with small changes in colors or accessories. It is not easy to follow if you do not absorb easily violence on screen, but otherwise it is a good story and a credible piece of history of Japan and its reflection in cinema whose details I at least have become aware about only now.
  • The movie 'Blood and Bones', is a movie, everyone certainly knows it is not an 'entertaining' film of all Japanese Dramas, but with all the bells and whistles, this movie certainly got us learning about the factors of what some people just don't understand when they're swimming around with money all around them.

    Kim Shun-pei, is a man who was once a kid from South Korea and moved his life to Osaka, Japan. He was a man, who showed nothing but hatred and greed. His hatred, got everyone driven to depression and suicide. With Kum Shun-pei's greedy and violent attitude, women by women, making them pregnant, to lawn for his money. A fish cake factory, that he once ran, destroying the face of his employee, beating up his employers and his sons, he was surely a troubled man with nowhere else to run and hide.

    Personally, this movie is, as I said, certainly not an entertaining film, but the image we see on this film, shows us the reality of what some people face without love and eternal feeling. With greed, violence and rape, this film surely showed that sometimes life, back and now, is what some lack. I rate this movie a 10 out of 10 because it is yet, a very touching movie and it's a movie to witness the atrocities of others when love is totally absent.
  • A gifted director brings to the screen a best-selling novel that ostensibly tells the true story of a rejected immigrant community within Japan. The Korean star (Takeshi Kitano) felt the need to change his name from Korean to Japanese, which proves the point. The film is a shocking condemnation of Japanese society gone by: the appalling indifference to violence when committed by an all-powerful father figure, the ghastly suffering of the womenfolk ignored by the all-male police force, and the helplessness of workers before a tyrannical boss. In the background is the lawless ruthlessness of the yakuza criminal mob, available to the cruel money-lender as enforcers for debts. If you ever felt romantic about Japanese society, this realistic-feeling movie will disillusion you. It's no wonder that young women are reported to be leaving the country, if there's any truth to this picture at all. They don't fancy appealing to the gods at their shrine in the kitchen to release them from torture and slavery, instead of telephoning the police and social workers.

    The performances are all excellent: it must have been loathsome to depict act after act of insensate violence, all unavenged to the last frame. Hats off to Production Designer Emiko Tsuyuki and Art Director Toshihiro Isomi for a very watchable movie. This is powerful drama, compelling the audience to watch while conveying a powerful and courageous criticism of the world in which it is made.

    Why is this face of Japan so cold and indifferent? Why did General Macarthur's military dictatorship not introduce more humane values and social justice in the years following the defeat of Japan's fanatical military elite? This is the aspect of Japan that the Allies detested so deeply: the cruelty and indifference displayed by Japanese leaders to their own soldiers and to Allied prisoners alike.

    Let's hope that the relentlessly unpleasant figure so convincingly depicted by Takeshi Kitano could never thrive again in today's Japan, but Blood And Bones does not inspire confidence. One of the fine points of Kitano's performance comes on the occasion when he cracks a very rare smile, and we realise that he is sharpening his knife to cut open a live pig and drain its blood. I enjoyed that moment of insight into his character by the actor and his director. A relentless and brave critique, both of life and of Japan, and a fine film worth enduring to the end.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film is essential to understand post war Japan and Korea and even modern Korea. The community of Korean expatriates in Japan lived through the war and then had to cross a long period of doubt and enthusiasm. The enthusiasm came with Mao Zedong and the liberation of China, but also with the promise of the liberation of Korea, even if this promise got frustrated. But the essential part of the film is dealing with the violence of everyday life on all children, and essentially the violence of a tyrannical father who does not know any other rule to govern his own feelings, if not passions, and to dominate his fellow Koreans and neighbors, but to impose his violent law, his necessary violence between him and everyone else, be they his wife, his children, his lady friends or concubines, his employees, his clients, his next door relatives or strangers. It cultivates in the children the deep desire to compensate this violence and this frustration not to speak of alienation, and the direct compensation they cultivate on their side of life is violence with this father, violence with other people, and a political commitment that promises them justice, disalienation, liberation, even poetry and art, and this is realized in the communist party, in the communist dream in North Korea with Kim Il Sung. But then the film is a challenge to logic, to reason. Are all revolutions the same lie, the same false motivation, the same fake commitment? Is any revolution nothing but a vengeance, a revenge on the brutality of life and particularly on domestic and family violence? If so how can progress come out of it? Is progress bound to fail in front of such motivations? Or is progress bound to come out of such mis-motivated people, mis-motivated action? And that's where the film is optimistic. In spite of all difficulties in this life for individuals or communities, progress comes up and out of it all. The world altogether is moving towards a better level of existence and reality. The film even seems to advocate the idea that this suffering, this violence, this alienation, this frustration are necessary for commitment to be possible and progress cannot come without that commitment. And the cause of the suffering, be it a war, or a father, or any other cause, will disappear, end and vanish one day though all those who will survive it or him will never forget him or it. That's the very dilemma of life, but also its beauty: good cannot come but from evil and without evil good cannot be born, emerge and come to life, even if some evil will also come out of it in a way or another that will produce some new improvement and progress. This film thus advocates in the end that we have to let history and life go their own way and trust humanity in its search for a better life for everyone. You may think it is slightly simple but anyone will tell you that it is always simple things that have the highest chances to happen. History hates complicated solutions.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines