The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
During peace in 1725, aging swordsman Isaburo is living a henpecked life when his clan lord requests that Isaburo's son marry the lord's mistress, with whom he's displeased, even though she's born him a son. Isaburo wants to refuse, but his son Yogoro accepts the woman, Ichi, and they fall deeply in love. Their love renews Isaburo, so when the clan lord's elder son dies and the lord sends for Ichi to return to his side as mother of his heir, Isaburo opposes his lord. Yogoro and Ichi, who now have a baby daughter, stand with him. The clan orders their suicide, then sends soldiers to kill them. Isaburo's only hope is to take his case to Edo to expose the clan's cruelty. Can he? Written by
Those of us who are really into cinema know that Japanese cinema in general and samurai cinema of the 60's in particular is a genre not to be overlooked One of the most popular Japanese directors who has contributed to this genre ('Yojimbo', 'Sanjuro', 'Kagemusha' etc ) is Akira Kurosawa (and I myself appreciate Mr. Kurosawa a lot). However he has over-shadowed (at least for the occidental movie fan) a lot of other Japanese directors from this period of the 60's. One of this director is Masaki Kobayashi and one of his movie that has been forgotten is 'Joi-uchi: Hairyo tsuma shimatsu' (AKA 'Samurai Rebellion').
'Samurai Rebellion' - 1967 is in fact a great movie, a masterpiece. It tells the story of an aging swordsman named Isaburo Sasahara (Toshiro Mifune) who during a time of peace (1725 1727) decide to retire and leaves the command of the family to his elder son, Suga. Unfortunately when his clan lord request that Isaburo's son marry the lord's mistress the henpecked life that Isaburo was living changed to the worst and split his family into two. This movie is irreproachable; the filming was mastered by Mr. Kobayashi and the acting outstanding. Indeed not only Toshiro Mifune but also the beautiful Yoko Tsukasa (as Ichi Sasahara) the bride of Isaburo's son are a good example of how temperance can trigger emotions on screen. The photography has been done by the book, every panoramic, close-up, etc are perfect and very Japanese (meaning very geometrical). The pacing is also a perfect mix of slow pace scenes that provide character's depth and fast pace scenes for breathless action and sword duels. In short the movie is technically perfect. However what seduced me in this movie is not so much the perfection of the film from a technique point of view but more the originality and the modernity of the story. The rebellion from this master swordsman (Isaburo Sasahara) who is ready to fight for the happiness of both his son and his son's bride is profoundly humanist. Mr. Kobayashi demonstrates with brio that the notion of Justice transcends Cultures and that there is no code of honor that is above the human code
In a world when apathy rules 'Samurai Rebellion' is definitely a modern testimony and shows that Revolt can also be a path to follow.
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