A young lord attempts to combat the corruption endemic to the Shogunate bureaucracy, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. He refuses to pay the "customary" bribe expected by a Chancellor sent from the Shogunate to teach him the etiquette for receiving envoys from the Emperor. In revenge, the Chancellor goads the lord into drawing his sword when the envoys are present, a crime punishable by death. The young lord is forced to commit ritual suicide for this crime. His vassals are ordered to turn over their lords estate for confiscation, forbidden to take revenge for their lords death, then disbanded as a clan. To obey the Shogun, the lords former samurai must follow those orders, but to be loyal to oaths they swore to their lord and have justice, they must avenge him. This conflict of obligations is the primary dilemma in Japanese society, which is why this story is considered their national epic. The story is richly woven and the film worth seeing for the gorgeous art ...Written by
Mike O'Brien <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the greatest cultural "gifts" to the world of the 20th Century
It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the original 1962 incredibly loving critiques are no longer in print regarding the true nature of the origin, history and creation of this film. When I first saw it in 1963 (at the Castro, I believe, in S.F.) there was a lengthy story "blown up" on display board in the entryway. This film was a one-of-a- kind deliberate and heartfelt "gift to the world", created by a group of Japanese artists using film as their medium. This particular film was a reflection of what happened in the hearts of sentient Japanese artists AFTER Japan's defeat in WWII. Out of profound dignity they crafted this film to tell of the truest, deepest beauty of their culture, revealing it through the vulnerable opening of their hearts and sharing the story of the true Japan. In a manner similar to "The Passion" of our time, there was always a great historical purpose to this gift -- not merely a commercial undertaking. Thus, I believe the HISTORY of this film holds an even more noble place than the film itself, which happens to be a masterpiece painted with the love of its creators.
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