A Japanese Yakuza gangster is exiled to the United States. Takeshi settles in Los Angeles where his younger, half brother lives and finds that although the turf is new, the rules are still the same as they try to take over the local drug trade. Since his 1989 directorial debut, Kitano has written, directed, edited or starred in almost a film per year without losing the momentum of his originality and heightened artistic sensibility. The extraordinary success of 1997's Hana-bi (1997) confirmed Kitano's place as a leading figure of international cinema. Among its numerous awards, "Hana-bi" won Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion and was named Best Non-European Film by the European Film Academy. "Hana-bi" was cited on numerous 'Best Films of the Year' lists, often in the no.1 position.