Monday, December 03, 2012

一命 Ichimei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai)

Not really familiar with Takashi Miike's films mainly because he likes to travel the horror genre but recently 13 Assassins departed the genre so decided to see it and liked the visuals but the story was not exactly one I could enjoy. However had to see his next film that screened in competition at 2011 Cannes.

To my surprise Takashi Miike brings us a drama that truly borders a Greek tragedy not only because the story it tells but also because the filmmaking style he uses which in my opinion again departs from what he previously has done. What he gives us again is a fantastic succession of visually outstanding compositions and images that with a darkish palette will marvel your eyes.

This time I enjoyed the story that is told mainly with flashbacks, a storytelling style that allows viewers to keep interest as film pace tend to be on the very-slow side, even for me that love slow-pace movies, when story moves to the past. While evidently story is about revenge, honor and disgrace we can also clearly see many reasons-why the Samurai, the warrior class, disappeared in Japan and most interesting, could give us a vision on why (the hypocrisy) warriors and wars prevail in our contemporary society.

Yes this is a remake of 1962 Seppuku (Harakiri) by Masaki Kobayashi, which I haven't seen and maybe will give it a try mainly because film is in black and white; but according to what I read Miike did an interpretation that makes film his own thanks to radically different attitudes toward the subject matter and diametrically-opposed conceptions of space and movement. But most viewers express disdain for Miike's version when they compare this film to Kobayashi's version.

You have to see both films to know what to believe/think, but what I know is that Miike's movie independently of the story it tells, definitively has a fascinating and mesmerizing filmmaking style thanks to how he conceptualized, visualized and shaped space and movement in this movie.

Saw the 2D version, but film has the honor of being the first 3D movie ever to be screened in competition at Cannes; however, can't imagine how 3D could make this film look better than what I saw in the richness of technically very advanced two dimensions.

I'm in the mood for my own Oriental films little festival where I set my mind to watch only great films from that side of the world; I believe that western minds need to mentally prepare to see these films so maybe that is a key reason why I was able to enjoy this movie as much as I did. So, do I recommend movie? Yes, I do. But if you are a westerner, suggest to prepare yourself for a very oriental cinema experience.


Watch trailer @MOC

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