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Beat Takeshi's BROTHER chop chopped for U.S. Distribution

Hey folks, Harry here. I really wasn't expecting this sort of action from SONY PICTURES CLASSICS. After the release of CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON in its native tongue and subtitled, I thought of S.P.C. as a leader in the independent arena. Allowing the MPAA to dictate terms on a Takeshi Kitano film is just wrong. Beat makes his films tough to illustrate points in the same style that Peckinpah used graphic violence. This isn't to glorify, but to horrify. Releasing BROTHER in limited release... to an almost exclusive older set to begin with, staying beside your director and facing down the MPAA is all important, especially when it comes to fighting for Independent Film. Sigh, I was really looking forward to this release too. Oh well.

I'm writing to you so you alert your readers to how the MPAA has castrated the new movie by Takeshi Kitano, Brother. Since you can order the uncut version of this movie on DVD from Japan or Hong Kong with English subtitles maybe you can get Sony Pictures Classics to restore the violence to the DVD release or face the fact that us Kitano fans will just order the DVD from overseas. Here is a list of cuts that I'm 100% about:

1) When Yamamoto (Beat Takeshi) is captured by the Mexican gang he shoots them in the car. When the driver is shot the windshield gets covered in blood. All the blood on the windshield has been cleaned up using digital effects in the US version.

2) When Yamamoto asks Denny (Omar Epps) to kill the Mexican gang leader with one shot and he'll give him $10, Denny just shrugs and the Yamamoto shoots the gang leader in the head bathing the blue wall behind him red. In the US version, the blood on the blue wall has been cleaned up digitally.

3) When they catch the drug dealer that ran off they make him cut off his finger. In the Japanese version you see the finger get cut off, you don't see it in the US version.

4) When Yamamoto's buddy from Japan shoots himself in the head in front of rival Yakuza to prove his loyalty to Yamamoto you see him pull the trigger and blood splatter against the wall behind him. In the US version, you just see the aftermath.

5) When Yamamoto's Yakuza friend back in Japan disembowels himself in front of his leader you see him graphically cut his belly open and get to see his intestines hanging out. In the US version, it's mostly implied.

6) When at a sushi place a couple of Yakuza capture an assassin and stick chopsticks up his nose and push them up his nostrils. In the US version it cuts to black, in the Japanese version you get a point of view shot of the assassin as the chopsticks are push forward up his nostrils as blood shoots into the camera.

These are the parts I remembered but I'm pretty sure I missed a few other things as I saw the uncut Japanese version almost a year ago. A couple of scenes look like they were put into slow motion so they could take out more graphic shots but I'm not 100% sure. It's sad that they didn't just release the movie NC-17 or unrated especially since Sony Pictures Classics were only going to being giving it a limited release. Hopefully future Kitano releases will be released by a company like Lions Gate who have no problem releasing movies unrated.

Jackie Marlow

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