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also known as Seppuku

Harakiri1962

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  • 4.7
Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself, but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, HARAKIRI, directed by Masaki Kobayashi is a fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system.

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1 member likes this review

Samurai movie fans won’t be disappointed with this atypical, anti-samurai movie that denounces the ‘façade of samurai honor’. The tone is mostly sad and angry with moving domestic scenes showcasing Nakadai’s gripping performance as the resigned ronin who is also a loving father, stepfather, father-in-law and grandfather. Composer Toru Takemitsu’s work is immediately recognizable in the snapping, naturalistic soundtrack of plucked instruments, chirping insects and ponderous silence, and significant developments take place powerfully as off-screen sound. Full of Kobayashi’s stately framed scenes and revealing, twitching closeups. Very bloody for being so anti-violence and humanistic. Great movie.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (3)

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top reviewer

Samurai movie fans won’t be disappointed with this atypical, anti-samurai movie that denounces the ‘façade of samurai honor’. The tone is mostly sad and angry with moving domestic scenes showcasing Nakadai’s gripping performance as the resigned ronin who is also a loving father, stepfather, father-in-law and grandfather. Composer Toru Takemitsu’s work is immediately recognizable in the snapping, naturalistic soundtrack of plucked instruments, chirping insects and ponderous silence, and significant developments take place powerfully as off-screen sound. Full of Kobayashi’s stately framed scenes and revealing, twitching closeups. Very bloody for being so anti-violence and humanistic. Great movie.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

I could not help but think of Shakespeare who died in 1616, only 14 years before this period film.

A stark drama of power and deception woven through with the deepest human emotions, which

are eternal so long as our specie exists. This is a very good film, with sharp contrasts to maximize

the pallet of emotions, and ultimate questions. Worth seeing again.

stunning.