Takeshi Kitano’s Filmmaking Principle
Japanese actor turned filmmaker Takeshi Kitano, who released his first feature at aged 42, and who has since directed 17 more films, reminding us that it’s never too late to start making films, talks about his filmmaking principle in this short video shared by the always excellent Eyes on Cinema.
Departing wildly from filmmakers like Fincher, who likes to reach the highest level of refinement at each stage of the production, or from Ken Loach, who enjoys guiding actors into improvisation, Kitano likes to film quickly.
So quickly indeed that actors on set bet how early they’ll finish their day, because Kitano rarely films beyond two takes.
Here is what the filmmaker says about his process:
“Because I’m so busy, when I write a script, I have the complete film in my head, even before we start, so once filming begins, I just do it. I’m more interested in the editing process, so I tend to shoot in hurry. Filming should have been done thoroughly, so it’s easy to put together. Maybe you don’t have enough footage, but how you play around with it is the interesting thing.”
So Kitano sees the whole film in his head, and then considers that the real creative process happens during editing, playing around and trying to find solutions if everything is not as initially intended.
But film is a collaborative art, which also means that to be able to get everything in one take, everybody needs to be at the top of their game. Or do they?
Kitano has an unorthodox style when it comes to capturing what he wants without compromising his fast paced style:
“I run the camera during rehearsals and I often use the rehearsal, even if it’s not always polite. So I shoot the take but utilize the rehearsal.
If the actor isn’t giving me what I want, then I wouldn’t ask them to do it again and again. If I’m not getting the right expression, then I move the camera and shoot from behind.
I know some directors who shoot and shoot until they get the right expression, but that’s not what I am after. I move, and the camera moves.”
This might horrify some actors reading this, although is it more “horrifying” than altering acting pace making it seems as if it’s never been touched? Debatable.
This only goes to prove that there is not one style of filmmaking, and each storyteller makes it work the way it works. It’s as simple as that.
Looking at the greats and being inspired by them is one thing, but getting stuck into thinking it should be this way or that way can actually limit your creativity.
Kitano doesn’t bother about standard practices. Just like Robert Rodriguez.
You can watch the full video below: