Beat (1998)

Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |  
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Set in 1963 when the Japanese island of Okinawa was home to its native residents -- as well as Japanese colonists and American soldiers who were sent in increasing numbers to fight in Vietnam -- this drama recounts the racial tensions and chaos of those times as it tells the story of Takeshi, a half-Japanese, half-native Okinawan bartender who works at a popular watering hole for American servicemen. As is typical of such bars, there are plenty of prostitutes, the prettiest of whom is Michi whom Takeshi secretly adores. The barkeep particularly despises Ryan, the GI who regularly employs Michi and who has told her that he wants to bring her stateside as his bride. In hopes of preventing this, Takeshi launches a one-man war against the Americans, stealing supplies at every opportunity. Takeshi gets help when a mysterious unnamed stranger shows up in town. A devastating typhoon hits the island, and shortly thereafter Ryan finds himself assigned to active duty in Vietnam, a place Ryan desperately wants to avoid. Unwilling to accept the dangerous assignment and desperate to force the reluctant Michi to join him, Ryan kidnaps Michi's young daughter. This high-energy look at cross-cultural tensions was screened during Critics Week at the 1998 Venice Film Festival.

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Keywords

bartender, kidnapping, prostitute/prostitution, servicemen, stranger, typhoon, war