"Beat" Kitano re-invents the legendary anti-hero Zatoichi. Played by the late Shintaro Katsu in over twenty features and a television series starting in the sixties, Zatoichi has been absent from the screen since 1989. However, no one in Japan has forgotten the humble, roving masseur – blind, seemingly frail and jovial, but actually the most deadly swordsman in the country.
Kitano directs and stars in this astonishing contribution to a pop culture invention that has attained mythic proportions. Zatoichi arrives in a town dominated by gangs where he meets – and helps – two geishas who are out to avenge the murder of their parents. Hattori, a stoic ronin tormented by his past, appears around the same time and takes a job as an assassin for one of the gang lords. It is inevitable that Zatoichi and Hattori, two lethal swordsmen, will face each other. It only remains to be seen who will be left standing.
Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo. He began his distinctive career in the film and entertainment industry in 1972, working under the name of “Beat” Takeshi. He has enjoyed enormous success in Japan as both a stand-up comic and weekly television personality; he is also an accomplished actor and painter. Filmography: SONATINE (1993), KIDS RETURN (1996), FIREWORKS (1997), which won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice film festival in 1997, KIKIJURO (1999), BROTHER (2200) and DOLLS (2002).