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Japanese director defends grisly gangster flick

Takeshi Kitano signs autographs as he arrives for the photocall of "Outrage Beyond" at the 69th Venice Film Festival Monday. (REUTERS/Max Rossi)

VENICE: Japan’s Takeshi Kitano defended the explicit violence in his new gangster flick “Outrage Beyond,” saying Monday it felt right to include references to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Kitano conceded that his complex tale of warring yakuza families – a sequel to his 2009 film “Outrage” – was aimed at a wider foreign audience since his Japan fan base was dwindling.

Kitano stars as Otomo, the rumored-to-be-dead boss of a family once crushed by the Sanno crime clan, who 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.

“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 has already written the screenplay for the third film in the trilogy. “Outrage Beyond” could have been even more violent.

“There are extreme things that I would like to do,” he said, “but then I’m stopped. If we overdo it, we would not have viewers.”

He also said that some of the intensity of the dialogue and the violence had been amplified for comic effect. “The more vehement a scene,” he said, “the greater the laugh.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 04, 2012, on page 16.

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