Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
To secure part of the funding required to make the film, Akira Kurosawa teamed up with the Suntory Whiskey company to create advertisements for the drink on the set of "Kagemusha". These advertisements are included as extras on the Criterion edition DVD. See more »
When Kagemusha is being ejected from the Takeda clan compound, he is seen with his left arm in a dark purple-colored cloth sling, which covers most of his hand and forearm. As the camera shot changes to a slightly longer shot, the sling is suddenly much narrower, exposing much more of his hand and forearm. See more »
To occupy Kyoto, to fly my flags in the capital, has been my long-cherished dream. But... if something should happen to me, do not pursue that dream. Remember: my death must not be made known. Keep it a secret, for at least three years. Guard our domain. Never move from it. Do not move! If you ignore my order and set out to attack, our Takeda clan will be no more. Heed my words! This... is my final wish.
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I am a fan of Kurosawa and have seen many of his films many times. There is a sweep and an ache to Kagemusha that is genuine and has remained in my heart's memory. Unlike Ran, it is not Shakespearean. Unlike Seven Samurai, my favorite all-time film and I believe the best film ever made, it is not a western.
Although epic, it is about a sweet and rueful soul swallowed by karma and history. It is redemptive without overt sentiment, and the lead performance by Tatsuya Nakadai is nuanced and unforgettable.
I will always remember this film, not for its complexity or savagery, but for the simplest moments between Lord and subject, between the highest self and the lowest self, and most particularly, the very real pain of a man caught in the vise of his own life and death.
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