Dolls | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A more unabashed art movie than any of Takeshi Kitano's other films, this exquisitely composed 2002 feature (made between Brother and The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) begins with a traditional form of Japanese puppet theater called Bunraku before it segues into three overlapping, highly stylized, but otherwise unrelated contemporary tales. In each the protagonist (a businessman, an aging yakuza, and a female pop singer disfigured in a traffic accident, as Kitano was several years ago) tries to compensate for having chosen work over love and winds up with a mate who has sacrificed everything for it. The overall mood is stately and melancholy, the selective use of color is ravishing, and some of the natural views are breathtaking. In Japanese with subtitles. 113 min. Music Box.

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