Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Seven Samurai

What has become my regular Wednesday night activity (I've done it at least twice) of watching two movies back to back was very nearly ruined this evening, by firstly, a dodgy disc (curse you Tesco/lovefilm!) and then secondly, by my inability to stay awake.

What probably did not help matters was that the film I was left with was in Japanese with subtitles, and that it wouldn't play on my laptop - cue small screen and me having to lie down to see the screen (Maybe it is time I invested in a TV and DVD player)

I've become fascinated by Japanese history since making the decision to teach it for Advanced Higher History. The ritualistic elements and rigid caste structure that plague Japan through to the mid-nineteenth century (and perhaps beyond) are a wonder to behold, and always make me question why they managed to survive with little transgression. The Seven Samurai is another fabulous rendition of those very issues.

From start to finish we see the respective roles of farmer and samurai, the expectations thats society has of each, and perhaps even the personality that was allowed for both. The villagers feared what the samurai could/would do to them, while at the same time also recognised the necessity of those very same people. Similarly while initially reluctant the samurai sense their own duty towards protecting those villagers, and I think the closing dialogue shows that more than anything.

The battle scenes are wonderful, the characterisation is phenomenal (although I really wish I didn't find Japanese names so difficult to remember!) and the story-line itself is simple but very effective.

My one slight criticism is how annoying I find the villagers. Their incessant wailing and moaning is a little too much for me. While they very much would have been subservient to those above them in the chain, I sincerely doubt they would have been quite so pathetic. These people after all faced numerous bandit attacks and were required to do whatever was asked of them by those above without complaint.

Overall though I was genuinely pleased with the film, I just wish I was slightly more awake!

I am also aware that I have not updated this blog in weeks, and now have about ten reviews to catch up on... aren't you all so lucky?!!?

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