During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan ... See full summary »
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During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan (Unasaka) to take an important position within the shogunate in far away Edo. Munezo has lived modestly with his mother and sister Shino after his father was forced into suicide after the failure of a bridge project. Kie, a farm girl serves them as a maid in their house. As time passes, Munezo's sister marries Samon, his mother dies, Kie is married into a merchant family, and he is required to learn western methods of warfare such as the use of artillery and firearms from an official sent from Edo. Learning that Kie is ill due to abuse, he rescues her from her husband's family. Although sharing mutual affection and respect, a marriage between Munezo and Kie is still impossible due to different castes, and when he, now a bachelor, is criticized for her serving in his house, Munezo sends her back to ... Written by
The tale of a samurai who is reluctant to draw his sword
I originally went to this film at the Palm Springs International Film Fest expecting lot of samurai action. What I did get was a thoughtful, well directed drama about a samurai who had never drawn his sword and was coming to terms with the changes in his country during the 1800's. The actors do a masterful job, and the main character really makes you feel the conflict in his heart.
There is very little swordplay in the film. Pretty much only in one scene toward the end. It plays out in a gut wrenching way for the main character. It took courage to tell the story of a Samurai who is reluctant to fight. The film deals with a very complex moral question: When is it okay to kill? The main character is put in a moral quandary when he's forced to do something that he is morally against. I felt director showed us a part of Japanese life that we're not used to seeing. The every day, domestic details of a honest, good samurai.
If you get the chance to see it, please do.
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