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Cult Japanese Director Takeshi Kitano Lends Art For Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Poster

Japanese director Takeshi Kitano has provided the artwork for the poster of the 2024 edition of Cannes parallel section Directors’ Fortnight, running alongside the main festival from May 15 to 26.

Directors’ Fortnight, which unveiled the poster on Tuesday, said the cult director, actor, writer, comedian, and painter had given it free rein on which of his works to select and use.

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“The director of almost 20 films let us into his studio and gave us the opportunity to choose one of his works,” said Directors’ Fortnight.

The section alluded to Kitano’s 1984 autobiographical story Takeshikun, hai depicting his daily life as a child and that of his family in the slums of Tokyo.

“‘I’d like to preserve my childlike sensibility indefinitely”: Kitano’s art has remained true to the promise on which his autobiographical story Takeshikun, hai! (1984) ends. Naive, playful and clownish, his work invites us to marvel, and not take ourselves too seriously,” it said.

Kitano made his Cannes debut in Directors’ Fortnight in 1996 with Kids Return, the tale of two ill-fated high school friends which he made during his recovery from a near deadly motorbike accident.

He went on to compete for the Palme d’Or in Official Selection with Kikujiro in 1999 and Outrage in 2010 and was back in 2023 with last feature Kubi in the Cannes Premiere section.

Directors’ Fortnight said that the choice of the quirky painting as the emblem of its 2024 edition was a way of “paying tribute to the poetry and humour” at the heart of Kitano’s cinema.

“On the subject of his untitled painting, Kitano remained discreet: ‘Interpret it as you wish.’ Before adding with a laugh: ‘The title is Takeshi!’,” it added. “Let the Directors’ Fortnight long be inhabited by this mischievous, free spirit!”

Directors’ Fortnight, which was born in 1969 in the wake of the student and worker unrest of May 1968, is gearing up for its second edition under the directorship of former film producer, distributor and sales agent Julien Rejl.

The poster was created by graphic designer Michel Welfringer.

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