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Is it too late to recommend 47 Ronin (1947)?


slaytonf
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I hope not.  Gosh, we've had a run of some good Japanese premieres on the foreign film series.  Tonight its a Mizoguchi great from 1941.  Again, from the Tokugawa Shogunate era, when displaced samurai, poor, unemployable, roamed the land, looking for purpose.  It's a popular time for Japanese moviemakers, perhaps because it affords opportunities for themes commenting on modern social inequities.

 

Can Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (1963--I know that's not the usual English title, but I like it better) be far behind?

 

 

Oh, on tonight, 11:15 p m., Pacific time.

Edited by slaytonf
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"“The 47 Ronin” is, simply, one of the great political films of all time. It’s the story of a group of samurai whose lord has been put to death—ordered to commit hara-kiri—by the shogun, and whose castle has been confiscated. The warriors of the title take it upon themselves to avenge the injustice and to oppose the confiscation—to stand up to the unjust yet unquestioned authority of a dictatorial regime and yet, at the same time, to remain true to the samurai code of honor. It’s an extraordinary balancing act that Mizoguchi pulls off. To satisfy the wartime norms of the day, he exalts classical Japanese warriors as self-sacrificing men of unimpeachable principle, and yet he emphasizes their fidelity to their conscience and their spirit of resistance.

It’s a man’s world, the world of the samurai. Yet Mizoguchi builds the story to a crescendo of nobility and bloodshed through the intervention of a woman, the fiancée of one of the samurai, whose romantic concerns—though feared to be destructive of the samurai spirit—prove to be as noble, as principled, as courageous, as civic-minded, and as grand as those of the warriors.....

 

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/better-than-ozu-and-kurosawa-mizoguchi

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That's a very good point that a movie about the revolt of wronged subjects against a Draconian dictatorial regime was made in the midst of World War II.  The parallels could hardly have been overlooked, but evidently the reverence for the samurai past distracted the censors. 

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