Poignant, haunting, beauty

Thanks to the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at V & A Museum, I’ve discovered more of Yamamoto’s creations, beyond his runway collections and Y-3. The latest of my discovery is Dolls, a film written, edited and directed by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano. Kitano, himself, is a fascinating character and I consider him a true artist. Unlike most Kitano works, Dolls is about love and features dazzling landscapes of the four seasons, an uncommon use of mise-en-scène for Kitano. The film has been praised for its cinematography (Katsumi Yanagishima) and features costumes by Yohji Yamamoto.

Yamamoto’s use of colours in the film was a surprise to me. After all, he has been known for his incessant use of black. The effect was stunning and breathtaking. Kitano mentioned in an interview that Yamamoto’s costumes shocked him; they were not what he expected but it was also these costumes that enabled him to review and reshape the film’s storyline. In Kitano’s words: “We were faced with a reversal of the normal process. Normally, costumes are made in such ways that they match the film. At certain points, we had to make adjustments to locations and continuity to match the costumes.”

If not for its incredible cinematography and costume, watch the film for its storyline. The idea of violence, love, self, tragedy and so many other beliefs are challenged in a simple plot. Kitano’s storytelling is unique in this film which uses Bunraku, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, as the overall concept. The film opens with a Bunraku play, Monzaemon Chikamatsu’s classic story of doomed lovers, Meido No Hikyaku (The Courier for Hell); poignant and haunting, it’s a beautiful scene.

X Sybil

(Images from Dolls’ official website)

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