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Kiyamachi Daruma

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2015
  • 116 mins
  • DCP
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2016

Kiyamachi Daruma from Festival Fantasia on Vimeo.

Shigeru Katsuura (Kenichi Endo) was once at the top, As the boss of Kyoto’s Kiyamachi yakuza clan, he ruled over his domain with great confidence. Now, he’s at the very bottom, literally crawling on the floor as a limbless debt collector. Following an incident five years prior, Katsuura lost both hands and feet and is now completely disabled. With the vital help of his partner Sakamoto (Masaki Miura) – once his junior – Katsuura now uses his body to scare, shame and bully others into paying up. His methods are so effective, in fact, that Katsuura has earned a reputation as Kiyamachi’s “daruma” – their most effective debt collector. But as the jobs pile up, the weight of a life spent inflicting pain unto others becomes harder and harder to bear. And the full details of the incident that cost Katsuura his dignity are coming to light…

If you were looking for a terrific twist on the yakuza formula, look no further than Hideo Sakaki’s KIYAMACHI DARUMA, adapted from screenwriter Hiroyuki Maruno’s own novel — deemed too controversial to print! Featuring the all-time-great veteran character actor Kenichi Endo in the lead role (VISITOR Q, anyone?) alongside Masaki Miura (MONSTERZ, COLD FISH), KIYAMACHI DARUMA is one of the bleakest, most unrelenting gangster films to come our way in a while. Sakaki boldly strips all the glamour from the genre and, echoing Katsuura’s missing limbs, uses its absence to expose the harsh realities of the lifestyle – oscillating between Kitanoesque levels of violence and the deep-seated melancholy that accompanies a life caught in an endless cycle of self-sacrifice and senseless violence.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer