Friday, September 25, 2009

Hara-kiri

aka Seppuku
Masaki Kobayashi, Japan, 1962, bw (8.2*)
Winner of the Jury Special Prize at Cannes, this is not a typical samurai film at all, but actually a critique of authority and a social system that trains and uses great numbers of samurai warriors during wartime, who are then unneeded and out of work in times of peace. In this type of era in the early 17th century this story takes place, and the plot is predicated on a starving samurai who shows up at a clan castle, asking to commit harakiri (ritual suicide) there in a place of honor. What follows is a winding tale told to the new arrival of a similar samurai in the recent past with the same request.

There is some action here, but it is as much about inaction as anything, and a society that discards and ignores those who would protect and sacrifice for it in a time of need, so it speaks to all generations who have dealt with war veterans. This also introduces much of the samurai culture to the world, and explains some of the thought behind the rituals. This is definitely one of the classics of Japan and martial arts films due to a great story, though not as action packed as Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, it is still engrossing and should be seen by all fans of that genre or of Asian films.

1 comments:

Онлайн September 28, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

Thanks for the full and detailed description. Success to you.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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