Japan’s Takeshi Kitano on Monday defended the explicit violence in his new gangster flick “Outrage Beyond” and said it felt right to include references to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Kitano also conceded that his film — a complex tale of warring yakuza families that is a sequel to his 2009 film “Outrage” — was aimed at a wider foreign audience since his Japan fan base was dwindling.
“I’m not a director who is appreciated in Japan a great deal, but I thought abroad I could get greater visibility with a sequel,” he said at the Venice film festival where his entry is among 18 vying for the Golden Lion.
Kitano stars in the slickly-shot film as Otomo, the rumoured-dead boss of a family once crushed by the Sanno crime clan, who gets out of prison and goes on a revenge spree through a world of guns, luxury cars and nighttime meets.
Corruption in the police and the government — particularly in the environment ministry in the wake of the tsunami — is a central theme of the film, which has the feel of a Japanese Godfather movie.
“The state is not doing enough. Everybody talks about this... I think I was right to get this across in the film,” he said, addressing the aftermath of the Japanese quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
“We have tried to describe a real-life situation.”
The cult director, who won the Golden Lion in 1997 and has returned to gangster themes after a more art-house phase, said he was planning to complete the trilogy and had already written the final part’s screenplay.
He said “Outrage Beyond”, which has death scenes involving a drill and a baseball throwing machine, would have been even more violent if he had had his way.
“There are extreme things that I would like to do, but then I’m stopped. If we overdo it, we would not have viewers,” he said.
The former star comedian also said that some of the intensity of the dialogue and the violence had been amplified for comic effect.
“The more vehement a scene, often the greater the laugh. That is what I wanted. Even I started laughing while filming!”