Search - Dolls on DVD

Actors: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Ky˘ko Fukada, Tsutomu Takeshige
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 54min

Inspired by the everlasting emotions expressed in Japanese Bunraku doll theatre, Dolls weaves three stories delicately intertwined by the beauty of sadness. Bound by a long red cord, a young couple wanders in search of so...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Ky˘ko Fukada, Tsutomu Takeshige
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Creators: Katsumi Yanagijima, Takeshi Kitano, Masayuki Mori, Takio Yoshida
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/08/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Love's Tragedy
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 03/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Based on the themes and aesthetics of Bunraku, traditional Japanese puppet theater, "Dolls" is a deliberate attempt to blend an ancient Japanese art form with modern technology and sensibilities.

Like "Double Suicide," another Japanese film based on Bunraku, the film begins with the puppets on stage being manipulated by their handlers, then transitions intolive actors. Also in common with "Double Suicide," the film is highly stylistic and modern while retaining the pace and tone of the old-fashioned story telling.

"Dolls" in all covers three stories: Matsumoto and Sawako, the happy couple who's meddling parents as well as their own poor choices leads to tragedy. Hiro, the stereotypical aging Yakuza gangster, kind to children yet ruthless to his enemies, seeking to find a love that was lost to him long ago. Haruna, the once popular singing idol, who's features were marred in an accident and is now lonely and alone, allowing no one to see her face.

As with most Bunraku stories, each is a tale of the tragedy of love, and how exquisite love is often accompanied by exquisite pain. The agony and the ecstasy. But because this is Japan, these fierce emotions are bottled up inside the characters, who show their outward masks attempting to betray nothing of their true feelings. The true story is only available to those who can read between the lines.

In the end, however, what drives "Dolls" is not the story, but the artistry of Kitano's camera. Some of the splendid scenes and colors in "Fireworks" find fruition in "Dolls." He claims that each shot can be framed as a piece of art. The changing colors reflects the traditional Japanese aesthetic of the four seasons, and of the changeability of nature and life. It is a beautiful film.

Some have difficulty accepting Kitano Takeshi as anything other than a violent action director, and those people might have a hard time with the slow pace and brilliant images of "Dolls." It is definitely not going to be everyone's favorite, but it is one of mine."
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For the most part, I believe, when one thinks about the films of Kitano Takeshi one either thinks about such violent yakuza/police films such as _Violent Cop_ or _Firewoks_ or a more humorous Kitano in films such as _Kikujiro_ and _Getting Any?_. However, with this 2002 film, Kitano pushes the envelope to something new and melancholy.

The film begins with a performance of Bunraku, Japanese puppetry. Although the performance is lovely, one wonders what does it actully have to do with the film? This becomes evident when Matsumoto is introduced. Matsumoto is a low ranking salaryman, but one who has a great opportunity to get his foot into the world of Japanese business when his boss asks him to marry his daughter. The girl seems pleased, The girl's parents seem pleased, and Matsumoto's parents are overjoyed because the marriage would equal higher social status not only for their son, but them also. However, there is one major problem: Matsumoto is already engaged and in love to the cute Sawako. However, because of familial pressures, Matsumoto concedes to marry the boss's daughter. As a result, Sawako attempts to commit suicide.

However, Sawako survives her suicide attempt, but is left in a near vegetable state. She does not speak much, and when she does it is usually to inanimate objects. She also has the tendency to wander off, which Matsumoto tries to remedy with by tieing her to a red string which he also ties around his waist. At first they are quite sedentary , but soon they begin wandering the country, eventually dressed in the robes resembling those of Burraku puppets.

The movie does not only center around Matsumoto and Sawako. There is also an old yakua boss, who returns after 30 years to find that the girl he once loved still returns every saturday to a bench in the park to bring him lunch. There is also the sad case of a pop idol who maimed her face in an accident, and the fan who loves her regardless, even going to the extreme to prove his devotion.

Dolls is a fantastic film. Very slow paced, but extraordinarily rich in scenery and subdued emotion. The camera work is lovely, and Japan's changing seasons are given full attention. Autumn's maples are truly fabulous.

Mysterious and Serene
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 10/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Throughout Dolls you feel as if you are observing the life of two Banraku dolls on an inner journey to escape the prison of their reality as they tell their story through three couples who seem to be struggling with similar themes and emotional issues.

This almost silent contemplative art is much more poetic than dramatically complex and yet intricately woven so as to mingle the dreams and imaginings of six souls longing for completion.

There is a contrast of serenity with conflict and it feels like the couples in the story are playing out the stories told by the Dolls. In one gorgeous scene the couple bound by a red cord dress like the dolls and that makes the ending highly evocative and memorably poetic in the most intriguing of ways.

While viewing this movie you may feel more inclined to write poetry or phrases and have strange thoughts like: "I am tied to your heart with a crimson rope. When you fall, I trip so easily over myself." In a way, you write many of the words of the script in your own mind and in that way make the movie your own. At the moment where they fall down a hill, you also see the puppets and it feels like the puppeteers are controlling the couple's life in reality.

Dolls is an especially serene and visually stunning contemplative moment of art. The trees bursting with autumn grandeur are beautifully filmed and the red rope is strangely interesting as it trails along the ground, picking up leaves or pulling across snow or keeping the couple together even in chaotic dreams. The pacing is especially relaxing and you are left in an almost mysteriously silent mood.

~The Rebecca Review"
I love it!
Aleksandra | Orlando, Florida | 03/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wonderful movie! Very emotionally touching and you can really feel for the characters. And yes, at some points, it's quite a tear-jerker."