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>
Final feature film of actor Takashi Shimura who was one of director Akira Kurosawa's favorite actors who used him regularly. This movie represents their final ever collaboration. Kurosawa wrote the part of Gyobu Taguchi in this film for him. The scene in which Shimura appears was cut from the international subtitled version of the film but has been put back in the modern subtitled DVD release. Shimura passed away in 1982. See more »
In the final battle there are at least 100 riflemen shown firing their matchlock rifles in volleys. The smoke generated by the matchlocks almost immediately dissipates. This indicates a more modern gunpowder was used in the matchlocks as the historically correct black powder load would blanket the battlefield with thick smoke after a handful of volleys. 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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Akira Kurosawa is certainly one of the most important directors who ever lived. Most of his most famous films were made in the 50s and 60s. Rashomon, Ikiru, Yojimbo, and The Seven Samurai may be the four most famous films he made, and they were all in black and white. That format was wonderful. His films had a definitive look in that era.
I would like to suggest, though, that he was the single best director of the color image who has existed thus far (whose work I am familiar with). I have only seen two of his color films (I don't even know how many he made), this film and Ran, but his sense of color in these two films is exquisite. I had to pause it several times during Kagemusha just to stare at the beautiful composition.
I personally think that Kurosawa's talents rested mainly in the technical aspects of his films rather than the content (and I'm sure many people would argue against me here). So as for the film itself, I'd give it a 9/10 for two reasons. I was only emotionally involved during small sections of the film (the end was particularly powerful), and the story was somewhat difficult to follow (I was confused during Yojimbo and The Seven Samurai, too). I prefer Ran to this film (and to all the other films of his I've seen, which include Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo). Still, Kagemusha is very good.
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