Posts Tagged ‘seven samurai’

13 Assassins

Posted 08 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 13 Assassins kicks mountains of ass!

13 Assassins, Japan / UK, 2010

Directed by Takashi Miike

This movie kicks mountains of ass! From the opening scene, which depicts the ancient Japanese ritual suicide method known as harakiri or seppuku, Japanese provocateur Takashi Miike’s latest film is clearly not screwing around. The opening scene is a textbook case of the effectiveness of sound design in film: we are mercifully spared the visual details of the disgraced samurai slicing open his own belly with his sword, instead focusing on a long take of his agonized face with the hideous squelching sounds of the violent act filling the soundtrack, an effect that is arguably even worse than onscreen violence. I remember being surprised to hear that the latest film from Miike (Audition, Gozu) managed to get an R-rating, and the fifteen minutes cut from the original Japanese release for the international version probably accounts for this, but I have little doubt that this scene has been presented exactly as Miike intended. It is a brutal beginning to an extremely violent film, a scene that really lets the audience know what it is in for.

Read More

Seven Samurai – The Rites Of Spring Of The Japanese Soul

Posted 29 Apr 2011 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

Akira Kurosawa's Seven SamuraiBy Frederic Erk

Seven Samurai, Japan, 1954

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a masterpiece of harmony and artistic accomplishment, brought to life with the vivid and forceful genius of a director at peace with himself and his performance. A true work of art, it is a carefully and methodically adjusted masterwork, based on a classic story of war and justice, of struggling humanity and survival, pregnant with a Shakespearian conception of nature, revealing the generosity of well-tilled earth or magic spell of silent forests, where visual symbolism paves the way for metaphysical redemption.

Though simplistic in appearance, this story of seven samurai hired by farmers to defend their village and crops from rampaging bandits has universal, even mythological, significance. This is the story of mankind, always at struggle with itself for survival, and yet also looking for metaphysical redemption, which is, according to Kurosawa, only to be found in powerful harmony with nature. Kambei (Takashi Shimura), the older samurai, a self-described veteran of many lost campaigns, has the wisdom to recognize that only the farmers will eventually win this fight, because their relationship to life (and nature) is a fundamental one still unsoiled by social considerations or obsession for personal accomplishment, which is sadly the case for the samurai. Although farmers and samurai share the daily burden of fighting for their lives, only the farmers can provide the necessary condition for a lasting and constructive prosperity in the troubled and violent time of feudal Japan, whereas samurai have to find redemption through stoic balance, or put their sword to the worthy cause of social justice. Read More