In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Toho Studios couldn't fulfill the budget demands of the film, American film directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to help Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa was visiting San Francisco in July 1978 and met Lucas and Coppola. The two convinced studio 20th Century-Fox, still riding high after the success of Lucas' Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), to advance-finance the film and fund the remaining portion of the budget. This was done in exchange for the film's world-wide distribution rights to the picture outside of Japan. This was the first time that distribution rights to a Japanese film had been pre-sold to a major Hollywood studio. 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 »
Why are you called a mountain, grandfather?
[Unaware of the legend behind Shingen's nickname]
Everybody calls you that. Where is the mountain? Is it because we have this mountain in our garden?
[Quickly intervening to cover for Kagemusha's ignorance]
You know the master's banner. What is printed there?
[Reciting the slogan on the Takeda clan's banner]
Swift as the wind... Quiet as a forest... Fierce as fire... Immovable as a mountain.
The lord is that mountain. Both in battle and at ...
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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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