Solid attempt but the amount of room for improvement is distracting
A samurai meets an elderly tea master on the road and sees he is carrying a sword from the Emperor. Taking great offence that this man would have such a weapon, the samurai challenges him to a duel the next morning. The tea master however has no skills with a sword but knows he must attend, but how will be survive?
There is a story behind this short film and it is as told here although personally I didn't take much from it. The principle is that the tea master displays the same mind of the samurai but in a different way and, while he is in such a state he is an opponent to be respected and a worthy one. The film doesn't help you too much with this but instead just tells the story. The making seems to be the main thing of the film and as such it is mixed. The style is one of beautiful landscapes, standoffs and quick bloody action and despite the limits it actually does a reasonably good job. The cinematography feels a bit basic hard for me to describe as a knownothing, but the light felt wrong, too dark at times, too light at others. The performances are only so-so as well; the American accents don't help a lot but all three men feel a bit stilted and stiff. Direction of the action sequence is good but otherwise it does feel a bit too much like a solid reproduction of something else, but never its own work.
Worth a look for the solid telling of an old story on limited resources, but there is scope for more meaning, more atmosphere and better delivery.
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