Martin Scorsese: Where is cinema going? Is it disappearing, reinventing itself for a better rebirth, or is it going through a transformation period?

Takeshi Kitano: I can say that a certain cinema I know is not disappearing. In this case, as long as I film what I want to see, this cinema will continue to exist. Cinema is definitely going in different directions and ranges over many areas, from purely commercial to artistic films.

I know very well that there are many "throw-away" films on the market today. When I say a "throw-away" I mean that it stays with the viewer's spirit less than one day. I imagine that there is a little theory in the light-up throw-away [as in throw-away lighter]. A number of years have passed in which the light-up throw-away [as in throw-away lighter] has considerably increased, but this does not have the quality, say, of a Dunhill lighter.

The proliferation of throw-away films has not changed the quality of cinema as we understand it.

Martin Scorsese: Are you inspired by cinema of the past?

Takeshi Kitano: I can honestly say, that I am not the type, that is inspired by other filmmakers. I learn instead by errors made in my past works.

Martin Scorsese: What pushes you to make films?

Takeshi Kitano: I consider films to be like toys. I find nothing more pleasurable than making a film.

Martin Scorsese: Has the battle to portray cinema as an art won in all aspects? What has it brought? What remains lacking?

Takeshi Kitano: In general, yes. My films are artistic in the sense that I don't make them to please everyone. The moment one makes a film to please the masses, is the moment he stops being artistic and become commercial. I believe that my films are not commercial, and in this sense they are artistic. What else is to be gained? To continue producing films that I want to see.

Martin Scorsese: If there was a moment, even a revelry, that defines cinema for you, what would it be?

Takeshi Kitano: Cinema is an inexplicable enigma or an insoluble enigma. I create the enigma that the public can resolve in the manner it chooses.

By Martin Scorsese (Cahiers du Cin?ma, Number 500, March 1996, pp. 69-73). Translation by Lisa Tagliaferri. All rights are reserved by Martin Scorsese and "Cahiers du Cin?ma". The interview is reproduced by