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Poster for Hana-bi
Directed by Takeshi Kitano
Produced by Masayuki Mori
Yasushi Tsuge
Takio Yoshida
Written by Takeshi Kitano
Starring Beat Takeshi
Kayoko Kishimoto
Ren Osugi
Susumu Terajima
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography Hideo Yamamoto
Edited by Takeshi Kitano
Yoshinori Oota
Distributed by Nippon Herald Films
Office Kitano
Release dates
September 3, 1997 (premiere at VFF)
November 5, 1997 (France)
January 24, 1998 (Japan)
March 11, 1998 (Belgium)
March 20, 1998 (U.S.)
April 3, 1998 (Canada)
July 24, 1998 (UK)
Running time
103 minutes
Language Japanese

Hana-bi (はなび HANA-BI), released in the US as Fireworks, is a 1997 Japanese film written, directed and edited by, and starring Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano.[1] The film's score was composed by renowned Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi. This was their fourth collaboration. Hana-bi (花火 Hanabi) is the Japanese word for "fireworks".

The unexpected international success of Hana-bi, coupled with Sonatine's critical acclaim, established Kitano as a foremost Japanese filmmaker of his time.

Kitano's daughter and former singer Shoko Kitano also made a cameo, playing a nameless girl flying a kite in the film's closing scenes.


  • Synopsis 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Soundtrack 4
  • Acclaim 5
  • Title 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Kitano plays Nishi, a violent and unpredictable police detective who quits the force after a terrible incident results in his partner, Horibe (Ren Osugi), needing to use a wheelchair. After his retirement, he spends much of his time looking after his wife Miyuki (Kayoko Kishimoto), who has leukemia. The film moves at a deliberate pace and devotes much time to exploring their relationship. Nishi has also borrowed money from the Yakuza to pay for his wife's needs, and is having difficulty repaying them. Meanwhile, Horibe takes up painting and creates works of art that are surrealistic.



Nishi's scenes are interspersed with Horibe's, who has taken up painting in order to compensate for his paralysis. Horibe, like Kitano, is a pointillist. In reality, these paintings were painted by Kitano himself, whilst in recovery from an infamous motorcycle accident in August 1994 that left half of his face paralysed.


Soundtrack album by Joe Hisaishi
Released 1 January 1998
Label Polydor, Milan Records
Alternative cover
Milan Records cover

The soundtrack CD was first released in 1998 and 1999 by Milan Records, then reissued by Polydor.

All compositions by Joe Hisaishi.

  1. "Hana-bi" – 3:42
  2. "Angel" – 2:41
  3. "Sea of Blue" – 3:29
  4. "...and Alone" – 2:29
  5. "Ever Love" – 2:15
  6. "Painters" – 5:57
  7. "Smile and Smile" – 2:55
  8. "Heaven's Gate" – 4:59
  9. "Tenderness" – 2:31
  10. "Thank You... for Everything" – 7:09
  11. "Hana-bi (Reprise)" – 3:41


  • The movie earned the Golden Lion award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival and numerous other accolades.
  • The film won the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics.
  • Critics praised the film, and it is possibly Kitano's most acclaimed film. American critic Roger Ebert rated it three stars out of four, citing its unusual approach toward serenity and brutality, calling it "a Charles Bronson Death Wish movie so drained of story, cliché, convention and plot that nothing is left, except pure form and impulse."[1] It was successful in its limited theatrical release, being praised especially in art circles, and won numerous awards and nominations.[2]


The film title is sometimes listed as "Hana-bi", "hana-bi" or "Hanabi" on the covers of international DVD releases and other references to the film in the West. However, the official international title is actually HANA-BI, fully capitalized,[3][4] and is used on all Japanese licensed products, including theatrical posters, video covers and OST covers.[5]


  1. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (March 20, 1998). "Fireworks".  
  2. ^ Hana-biIMDB awards page for
  3. ^ Official website at Office Kitano
  4. ^ Hana-bi at the Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese)
  5. ^ Office Kitano movie posters

External links

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