Monday, 26 January 2009
Samurai Rebellion (1967)
A film that starts off with a simple premise, but builds gradually into a deafening crescendo of rebellion. While the name suggests an action flick with samurais chopping each other's limbs off, the film focuses on the sidelines on a samurai family, the Sasahara family with Toshiro Mifune at its head. Mifune is a samurai who can't boast of too many skills, apart from swordfighting, and is in charge of the armoury and inventory of his Lord, the daimyo of the Aisu clan.
The introduction briefs us about Mifune's skill with the sword, and also brings Nakadai's character into the forefront as an equally skilled swordsman. The director cleverly introduces Nakadai into the mix early as he is absent from most of the film, but his equal billing with Mifune is justified as he is closely involved with Mifune, and is pivotal to the emotional effect the film has on us.
The central focus however is the love story (in the traditional restricted Japanese sense) between a mistress of the Lord, Ichi and Mifune's son Yogoro. Ichi is forcefully thrust upon Yogoro once she falls out of favour with the Lord, but soon redeems herself to the family as a loving and caring wife/ daughter in law. The rebellion in the film comes into fore when the Lord makes a 'U' turn and demands her back, and the film uses this opportunity to explore or atleast expose the complexities that are tied up with loyalty - to your lord, to your wife and to your friend.