Lord Asano resists a bribery attempt by a member of the Shogun's court. His honesty, however, is useless against the corruption of the administration, and he is forced to commit harakiri. ... See full summary »
Lord Asano resists a bribery attempt by a member of the Shogun's court. His honesty, however, is useless against the corruption of the administration, and he is forced to commit harakiri. His samurai retinue are dispersed as masterless ronin. The leader of the samurai, Oichi, plots with a loyal band of ronin to seek revenge for their master's dishonor. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Japanese Ministry of Information, under the militarist government, commissioned director Kenji Mizoguchi to make this film as a morale booster for the WWII war effort. But it was a commercial failure, being released in Japan one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The military and most audiences found the first part of the film to be too slow and serious. However, the studio and Mizoguchi both regarded it as so important that Part 2 was put into production, though Mizoguchi was forced to insert some close-ups of the stars which are totally absent from Part I. The film was finally shown in America in the 1970s. See more »
I saw this film on the big screen when it was screened at a local theatre last summer. Needless to say, I went alone for this 3h40min marathon - I could not coax my wife to come! The "47 Ronin" is an epic film about this legendary Japanese story about how 47 masterless samurai plot to avenge their Lord's death. I won't expand on the plot here, but if you Google the topic or go to Wikipedia, it's a really fascinating story.
That this film is not for everyone is an understatement. It is slow moving, monumentally long and requires a lot of patience. But, the viewer is rewarded with incredibly genuine acting, beautiful and poetically shot scenes, and in the context of when the film was made, a window into WWII-era Japan. Telling to the wartime era this film was made in, the credits at the beginning of each Part give credit to the "Propaganda Department" (English translation).
Also poignant and disturbing, is the very serious and thoughtful portrayal of the Japanese practice of seppuku, or ritual suicide by slicing the stomach until the bowels spill out, then decapitation by a skilled swordsman.
Overall, I'm very glad I saw it - and would recommend it to others interested in this story. It's one of those movies that you only need to see once though.
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