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Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Brother (Takeshi Kitano, 2000)

On January 25, 2015 Colin and “The City in Cinema” come live to Portland, Oregon’s Hollywood Theatre – for details and tickets, visit

In the mid-1990s, Takeshi Kitano, who made his name in Japan as a television comedian, broke into the west as an auteur. Did it with Sonatine, a tale of a Tokyo yakuza exiled on remote Okinawa, by turns violent and lighthearted, tense and languorous. By the end of that decade, he had the chance to crack America with Brother, which follows a similar operator forced out to Los Angeles. As he uncomprehendingly roams the city in search of his drug-dealer half-brother, he develops a death with that only all-out war with the city’s other gangs can satiate, resulting in what Kitano calls a Pearl Harbor-paralleling “film about going to America to die.”

The video essays of “Los Angeles, the City in Cinema” examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.