In a poor district of Edo lives a young samurai named Soza. He has been sent by his clan to avenge the death of his father. He isn't an accomplished swordsman however, and he prefers sharing the life of the residents, teaching the kids how to write etc. When he finally finds the man he is looking for, he will have to decide whether he follows the way of the samurai or chooses peace and reconciliation. Written by
The subtext of this novel, entertaining period film comes from a unique treatment of the famed story of the 47 Ronin (itself the source for history texts, dramas, movies, and plays). Instead of showing the flowering of the Japanese spirit of revenge, HANA YORI MO NAHO takes a more pacifist point of view. In fact, for many of the characters, the main virtue of revenge may lie in its commercial exploitation; for the remainder of the cast - nearly all of them living in a dusty slum on the outskirts of town - revenge breaks apart families, instills instinctual hatred, and only promises generations of promise unrealized.
The screenplay is understated and loosely plotted. relying for the most part on light comedy to given texture to its potentially tragic subject matter. The story of the 47 Ronin has been told too often without offering any background on the common people hidden in the background. Sometimes ignoble, it's the people who rise above the violence who seem to have achieved something great - like the failed samurai who ignores his father's dying request to kill a rival.
The film's visuals are dusty and dirty, but always arresting,helping to make for a realistic but appealing narrative. All in all, HANA YORI MO NAHO is a much needed corrective on an oft- told story.
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