Hana-bi (1997)

a.k.a Fireworks

A police officer leaves the force in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into a depression, he makes questionable decisions.


The paintings that appear throughout the movie were painted by Takeshi Kitano himself after his near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 1994.

5 years ago


I had forgotten how good this movie was. Amazing directing and editing, great acting from Kitano as the silent cop.

8 years ago


I admired Takeshi Kitano's bleak, brutal freshman effort, Violent Cop, but Fireworks (AKA Hana-Bi - hey, I own that tabletop game!) is of another caliber entirely. There are still cops and yakuza and shocking spurts of violence, and Kitano again stars as a mostly silent figure (there's in fact very little talking in the film). But this is much more than a crime story, and there's so much to unpack, its secrets can't all be unlocked with a single viewing. Kitano plays a detective who quits the force after a PTSD-inducing incident, although he was well on his way after just lost a child and with a wife dying of cancer. The incident makes the story fork into a twin narrative that sees him trying to get out from under the thumb of a yakuza loan shark and taking his wife on one last vacation, and the life of another cop involved, who has lost the use of his legs and begins painting surreal images that in some way inform or mirror the other thread's action ad mood. Kitano is a… quintuple threat here, since these are all his paintings. The intrigue comes as much from deciphering how these images relate as it does from wondering just what Kitano's character is up to. Throughout, there is a disappointment motif that's turned to a sort of resigned joy. The fireworks canister that fizzles out, then works is emblematic of the idea, but is woven straight through, in small things like a camera misfiring (followed by laughter at the absurdity of the moment), and more important things like the yakuza not being satisfied with their payment after all (and Kitano's ensuing reaction). He is playing it like a man who has nothing more to lose, and that gives him strength. Kayoko Kishimoto, playing his wife, is incredibly touching, and in the simplest way, never playing "sick" or "dying", except as a kind of nostalgia for life. And if you have questions about the final, bleak but beautiful final sequence, don't bail out of the credits - a final shot at end might just confirm your suspicions.

4 months ago

More info & statistics

12.1% of the viewers favorited this title, 1% disliked it

Currently in 7 official lists, but has been in 9


iksvecjart checked this title

2 days ago

Maavooy added this title to their watchlist

4 days ago

cinesmith checked this title

5 days ago

Alex DeLarge checked this title

6 days ago

GalyeonSantagar checked this title

a week ago

Bianco215 favorited this title

a week ago


Log in to see which of your friends have seen this movie

Venice Film Festival...

64 movies · At #41

Akira Kurosawa's A...

102 movies · At #102

Tom Vick's Asian...

847 movies · At #203

Cahiers du Cinéma's...

561 movies · At #221

Time Out's 1000...

1033 movies · At #411

TSPDT's 1,000...

1001 movies · At #576

1001 Movies You Must...

1007 movies · At #909