Ken and Kazu are small-time drug dealers and partners in crime operating out of a car repair shop under the watchful eye of a local yakuza boss. When Ken’s girlfriend becomes pregnant, he wishes to go straight. But Kazu, desperate to get money to put his dementia stricken mother in an institution, has other ideas. When their risky move catch the attention of the yakuza, all hell starts to break loose. In his sensational feature debut full of gripping moments, director Hiroshi Shoji manages to deliver thrilling jolt of realism to the often overfamiliar yakuza genre. ( 96 min. )
Available WORLDWIDE except Japan
Ken and Kazu is a gripping tale of brotherhood, drugs, and redemption. Director Shoji Hiroshi crafts one of the strongest debuts in years, and sets him in a position to become one of contemporary Japan's cinema giants. ... I cannot stress how excellent of a film this is. It belongs in a plethora of some of Japan's finest modern outings.
In a style that reminded me much of Kitano's “Kids Return,” in its disillusioned portrayal of the lives of Yakuza, Hiroshi Shoji presents a truly punk film that continues the currently lost legacy of the Japanese master. ... “Ken and Kazu” is a great film, in punk style, which actually shows what Kitano should be doing at the moment. Considering this is Hiroshi Shoji's feature debut, I cannot wait to see his next works.
SCENE COMMENTARY (exclusively available with rental/purchase)
The director Hiroshi Shoji and the two lead actors Shinsuke Kato and Katsuya Maiguma gives an uncut audio commentary for the final 25 minutes of the film.
This is my first feature film. I made it with the idea of what I want to watch and what excites me when I watch it. It was shot in 2013, released in 2016, and traveled to many film festivals around the world. It's a film about young people who are stuck in their local town, and it was made in a rural corner of Japan. I was excited to see how such a film would be viewed by people in other countries where values are completely different, but I was also anxious that it might not be accepted. As it turned out, the reactions in Korea and other Asian countries, in Edinburgh, England, and in New York, the U.S. were very sympathetic to the sentiments of the young characters in the film. These reactions encouraged me a lot and gave me the drive and strength to release "Ken and Kazu" theatrically in Japan and to make my second feature film. I owe it to the experience I had at these festivals, and I am very grateful for it. I really appreciate the release of "Ken and Kazu" on SAKKA where it can be seen by people overseas again 10 years after the shooting of the film. I will be very happy if the world looks a little different for you after watching this film.