Monday, February 21, 2011

Seven Heaven.

Seven Samurai.

This is considered to be one of the best (if not the best) Japanese film ever made. Well I own a lot of Japanese films including all the Godzillas, and I have to fully agree that this may in fact be the best film out of Japan.

You ever see a masterpiece of film making? You know it when you see it because you cannot stop thinking about the movie for days afterward, sometimes years, or even a lifetime. Ebert defines it by asking himself a question “Would I be sad if I never got to see this movie again?” If the answer is “Yes” then you love the movie. And the answer is yes on this one.

The story concerns a small village that was raided by bandits in the past. The village is all farmers and they are poor and hungry. One villager overhears some bandits planning a raid the village in the coming months. The villagers are scared and decide to hire Samurai to protect them. They have no money, and all Samurai belong to clans and would never stoop so low as to hire themselves out to farmers. So they need to find some Ronin. Ronin are Samurai that have no masters, they wander the Earth. But as it turns out, it is still difficult to hire them, because they are always looking for money or status, which none can be achieved by helping poor farmers – who can only pay you in rice. The village elder tells his scouts to find “hungry” Samurai that will work for food.

Rice, in that time period, was an acceptable use of currency, so the villages find Seven Samurai to work for them.

I wont give away the rest of the movie, as it is, it takes an entire hour to hire the Samurai. The film is 3.5 hours and it moves fast. But every scene is important, so I wont reveal anything else that happens.

I will say that the ending of the film is possibly the best ending I have ever seen of any film. So powerful and meaningful. This is a must must buy.



1 comment:

  1. I was actually disappointed with this movie when I saw it. It fell victim to the "Asian Denouement" syndrome that plagues most films of Asian origin. The buildup to the climax was very entertaining, but as soon as the dust settled, I felt that the ending was rushed and uncared for. I understood what message the director wanted to convey, but the drama was lost.

    I've recommended to you before, and I'll recommend it to you again. Find the Samurai Trilogy. It stars Mifune-san, so both acting and action are ever-present. I like this series so much because the pacing was consistent throughout the trilogy. The story spans across many years without feeling like you missed anything. The evolution of characters are well-paced and quite believable. And most importantly, the ending was quite satisfying in its simplicity. Sure, it's a trilogy, but I don't mind if it takes several movies to tell a good story. Much like how it takes skill to tell a good story in less than three hours, it takes as much skill to hold together a good story across a series.