Why 1997 and Hana-Bi?
This short chapter introduces the subjects and methodologies to be employed throughout the study, as well as offering a comprehensive look at why 1997 was particularly significant for Japanese cinema and how Kitano Takeshi’s Hana-Bi fits into this in some ways watershed year. It further analyses Hana-Bi’s formal and stylistic strategies, as well as providing an analysis of Aoyama Shinji’s debut film Helpless, which is contrasted with Hana-Bi as regards the ways in which both films may be seen to allegorise different eras and socio-political contexts (1989 and 1997, respectively). The introduction also offers an overview of both English language and Japanese language criticism and discourse on recent Japanese cinema, and introduces the particular concepts of genre and style that will permeate the subsequent chapters.
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