When a ronin requesting seppuku at a feudal lord's palace is told of the brutal suicide of another ronin who previously visited, he reveals how their pasts are intertwined - and in doing so challenges the clan's integrity.
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house.Written by
Kevin Rayburn <email@example.com>
The clan featured in the film, the Ii (sometimes spelled Iyi) have produced one of the most important and controversial figures of modern Japanese history: Ii Naosuke, Chief policymaker of the Tokugawa Shogunate best known for signing the Harris Treaty with the United States, granting access to ports for trade to American merchants and seamen and extraterritoriality to American citizens. See more »
After Motome's seppuku, when Omodaka steps forward and chops Motome's head off (supposedly), he visibly stops his swing before striking Motome's neck (naturally, since real swords were used). See more »
The ronin from Hiroshima, Hanshiro Tsugumo, committed hara kiri. All our own men died of illness. The house of Iyi has no retainers who could be felled or wounded by some half-starved ronin.
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Well what can I say.. this 1962 movie directed by Masaki Kobayashi is one of the MOST powerful movies I have ever seen in my life! It is really a tremendous example of outstanding film making! The cinematography is absolutely exceptional! However it is the haunting plot of a samurai explaining the meaningless and worthless flawed belief of the samurai spirit which grips the viewer.
Tatsuya Nakadais mighty performance in Harakiri further proves for me, that he is without a doubt one of best actors in the history of film. This man takes on his roles with such prowess that it is easy for the viewer to forget that you have seen him play a different role in another movie.
By the way - The Criterion 2 disk DVD version is mint! An a MUST HAVE in any fans collection.
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