(C)1998 Bandai Visual, OFFICE KITANO

Japan,1998, 103 minutes

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Leading Players:
'Beat'Takeshi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Oosugi, Susumu Terajima, Hakuryu, Tetsu Watanabe



STORY

Detective Nishi (Beat Takeshi) of the Metropolitan Police visited his hospitalized wife instead of accompanying his long time friend and partner Horibe (Ren Osugi) on a stakeout. While at the hospital, Nishi received the news that Horibe had been shot. A few hours later, Detective Tanaka was gunned down by the same man who shot Horibe.

Although Horibe survived, he is confined to a wheelchair for life. With him unable to provide for them, Horibe's wife abandons him taking their daughter with her. Nishi is haunted by the violent events that effected the lives of those around him, and has since quitted the police force. Visiting Horibe who now lives by the sea, Nishi learns that the man is thinking of taking up painting, but is hesitant, because it's an expensive hobby. Guilt-ridden, he borrows money from a yakuza loan shark to buy painting material for Horibe and give financial aid to Tanaka's widow.

Learning that Miyuki's time is limited, Nishi takes the doctor's advice and takes her home so he may be able to spend the remaining days with her. In the meantime, he finds a stolen taxi in a scrapyard. Repainting the car, and dressing in his police officer's uniform, he successfully pulls a bank heist. Returning home, Nishi takes Miyuki on a van and set out on a carefree trip.

During their travels, Nishi is tender and playful with his wife, who soon regains her cheerfulness. While Nishi and his wife indulge in fun and mischief as if to push aside all thoughts of death, Horibe is enlightened to artistic endeavor and the will to live on. Nishi and Miyuki's days of peace and tranquillity are disrupted by the arrival of the yakuza loan shark and his thugs...

The Japanese word hana-bi, made up of the characters hana (meaning flower) and bi (or hi for means fire), literally means fireworks. Spelt with a hyphen, Kitano intends the two characters to symbolize the themes in his film: flower for life and fire for death.

The paintings which appear in HANA-BI ( and this press booklet) were created purposely for the film by Takeshi Kitano.