Before viewing The Loyal 47 Ronin, or Chushingura, as it’s lovingly referred to in its native tongue, I had no idea that it was actually one of the most popular tales to adapt into a film in all of Japan. Traditionally, the movies are usually all-out affairs that production companies love to spend big budgets on in order to make them a success. AnimEigo has released a 1958 version of the classic tale, which was created by major Japanese studio Daiei. Though to many it may seem like another, run-of-the-mill samurai tale, fans of the story (based on factual events) and the many forms it has taken will find that this release is one of the better options available on DVD.
All posts in Movie Impressions
I heartily enjoy my Japanese films – the more I can devour the better! You might have seen from previous movie reviews that I’m a fan of some of the older, classic ninja and espionage films put out by the country so many years ago. I’m continuing my journey today through Japanese film history with the four-DVD set Sleepy Eyes of Death, the first volume of a multi-part DVD series, starring Raizo Ichikawa as a nihilist ninja known as Nemuri Kyoshiro. These four films follow a series of novels by the same name, cleverly titled as titular Nemuri’s name in Japanese means “sleep.” The four films included with this set are: The Chinese Jade, Sword of Adventure, Circle of Killing, and Sword of Seduction. As you wade through each film. you’ll note the characters and subplots taking on more and more of a concrete stance rather than just ideas brought to light by simple movie plots or novelizations. I greatly enjoyed the adventures of this chronic nihilist, and I’m certain that if you are at all a fan of films of the period you’ll find something to enjoy here.
I typically don’t bother wasting my time with romantic and sappy films, because the lot of them I feel are far too idealistic and frivolous. However, I will give foreign films dealing in genres I generally do not care for a chance since they tend to approach the subject manner in a far different manner than their Western counterparts – i.e. without beer and one-night-stands. When it comes to Japanese films I am instantly interested, as you have no doubt likely guessed by now judging from my previous published works on Popzara. I was given the chance to view the film The Samurai I Loved (originally Semi Shigure) based on a series of novels by acclaimed writer Shuhei Fujisawa and expertly directed by Mitsuo Kurotsuchi.
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred over sixty years ago, though they are still a topic of regular conversation, especially to those whose families were involved in the blasts. Even political figures regularly hotly and firmly debate the efficacy and moral standing of the last-ditch effort to end the war. Even films and television shows created to address the issue are tough to pick apart, seeing as many either paint one or both of the nations in dissenting lights – America as the victor, Japan as the victimized country, and so forth. As one of the seemingly few films to address the tragic end of the war, Shohei Imamura’s Black Rain is a harrowing account of those caught in the aftermath of the bombings and paints a picture that soundly illustrates both the implications and repercussions of war in all forms.