Kata Image


By Kyle Bain | June 17, 2021

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Kata, co-written and directed by James Latimer, is the story of thirteen-year-old karate prodigy Mahiro Takana as she journeys through a unique stage in her life. While she’s been immensely successful in her martial arts career, Takana is about to face her most formidable opponent yet… herself. As she contemplates her reality and future, Takana must come to terms with the fact that as she gets older, life will become more difficult. Does Mahiro Takana have what it takes to overcome these obstacles, or will the weight of the world come crashing down on her?

“…thirteen-year-old karate prodigy Mahiro Takana…journeys through a unique stage in her life.”

While this is technically a documentary, it is also a dramatic staging of the young girl’s struggles throughout her karate career. In just seven short minutes, Latimer and co-writer Conan Amok manage to provide viewers with a plethora of information regarding the young talent. What is interesting, however, is that even with all of the biographical elements present, the film veers from the personal ever so slightly to focus on the idea of fighting one’s inner demons. Through beautiful expressions of emotion, Takana and Latimer bring to life a story of trials and tribulations in martial arts but make it accessible to all walks of life.

I truly enjoyed Kata from beginning to end but struggled on occasion to appreciate what Mahiro Takana and James Latimer had to say. The film flows smoothly and presents a concise and relatable message. The beautifully shot martial arts on display are wondrous to behold. As the audience becomes more and more familiar with Takana, they begin to understand themselves more as well. It’s fair to say that this is a true success.

Kata screened at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

Kata (2021)

Directed: James Latimer

Written: Conan Amok, James Latimer

Starring: Mahiro Takana, Takako Kikuchi, Kôhei Mashiba, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Kata Image

"…beautiful expressions of emotion..."

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