Blind swordsman/masseur Zatoichi is pursued by the retainers of a lord who fear that he will reveal a secret weakness of their master. Returning to the village where a year before he had killed Hirate, a much-admired opponent, Zatoichi encounters another swordsman and former rival in love: his own brother. He must face in combat not only the pursuing retainers but his own flesh-and-blood. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This movie is, I guess, the first of the very long & very excellent zato-ichi series starring the incomparable Shintaro Katsu who also starred in the shorter but every bit as impressive if quite different series: The Razor. I lived in San Francisco in the 1960s & 1970s & used to go watch these films every week at the Japanese theater in the old "Japan Town". Loved them then, love them now. This film in particular is a classic in every way: cinematographically it looks like Eisenstein - every shot a classic. The compositions, textures & tonalities are breathtakingly beautiful. Dramatically, it's every bit as gripping as Yojimbo or the best Ford westerns (e.g. Stagecoach). And finally the sword-fight choreography - None better. Terrific movie!
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