A young couple walk around, tied together by a red cord. An old yakuza returns to the park when he used to meet his girlfriend, 30 years before. And a disfigured pop star meets her number one fan.
Echoes of Hana-Bi reverberate around Takeshi Kitano's melancholic but visually vibrant treatise on love and death, loyalty and regret.
Opening with a traditional bunraku puppet performance of a tragedy by Monzaemon Chikamatsu, the Japanese Shakespeare, the film passes through the seasons as it interweaves flashback episodes involving three people whose lives have been shattered by the actions of their beloved.
Miho Kanno goes insane after being jilted by fiancé Hidetoshi Nishijima, whose guilt prompts him to tether her to him by a red cord. Chieko Matsubara spends a lifetime of Saturdays waiting for yakuza Tatsuya Mihashi to show up for a date, while Tsutomu Takeshige blinds himself to get close to Kyoko Fukada, the pop star who spurned him before her face was disfigured in a crash.
Full of irony and intricate symbolism, it's almost impossible to resist.
The stories are loosely linked and feel slightly incomplete; however, the film is beautiful.