Monday, October 12, 2009
1962 Film - Harakiri (Seppuku)
1962 black and white film directed by Masaki Kobayashi and starring Tatsuya Nakadai. The Japanese name of the film is Seppuku which is a more formal term for the act of a person, usually a samurai, disemboweling himself. Harakiri was used for the American release of the film since this term is more familiar to Westerners.
Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Ii requesting to commit seppuku (suicide) on his property. Ii's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for charity, try to force him to eviscerate himself--but they have underestimated his honor and his past. This film is a winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri is a scathing denouncement of feudal authority and hypocrisy.
AMAZING, STUNNING, SHOCKING, INCREDIBLE. This film is one of the best samurai movies I have ever seen. The story, the acting, everything, was incredible. This film is way beyond any typical samurai movie. This is not a sword fighting chanbara flick, not even close. And yet this film had two of the most impressive sword fighting scenes I have seen in any movie. The first was an impressive duel and the last was an epic battle where Tsugumo faces off against several dozen samurai of the Ii clan. This film takes you in unexpected ways and really surprises you but I don't want to give too much away for if there is anyone out there who is interested in samurai movies but has not seen this one, SEE THIS MOVIE. Be warned however. There is a seppuku scene at the beginning of the movie. I have seen a lot of blood and gore in many movies but this required me to cover my eyes. Not because there were guts everywhere, but because of the sickening realism of what was happening. It still makes me cringe.