Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri.
A devastating, emotionally intense critique of the feudal system s hypocrisy and the warrior s code.
The film has a steady, hypnotic momentum; the director, Masaki Kobayashi, wrings as much drama out of facial twitches as he does out of sword fights.
It would be wrong for me to reveal the details of the story Tsugumo tells. What I can say is that it is heartbreaking.
This is an amazing Japanese classic written and filmed without flaw. The action unfolds in story-telling within story-telling. This is a film about truth. Whose truth? That is the unfoldment. In a perverted way, this amazing piece of work has become predictive of Western corporate banking. Perhaps you'll see what I mean at the end of the film.
Definitely an essential film.---To say that Seppuku is an incredible film is not only a massive understatement, but a disgrace to anyone who appreciates great cinema. Seppuku, in fact, is one of the finest films I've had the pleasure of watching.In the early minutes of the film we are introduced to a young samurai who arrives at the abode of a feudal lord. Upon his arrival he reveals that he would like to take part in hara-kiri -- an act in which a samurai will commit suicide witnessed by their peers. It's an act where, once agreed upon, there is no turning back. The feudal lord questions why this specific samurai would want to partake in hara- kiri, but his questions only raise further mystery.Directed masterfully by Masaki Kobayashi (Kaidan, Samurai Rebellion), he provides over two hours of a gripping samurai tale which remains breathtaking throughout. His action scenes aren't overdone by resorting to quick shots to compensate for a lack of on-screen action. They're done to allow the swordplay feel authentic. It's clear that these scenes were carefully orchestrated as these become the most memorable scenes in the film."Seven Samurai" is often regarded as not only the best film to be released in Japan, but one of the finest films of all time, but Seppuku always seems to be cast in its shadow. Seppuku is every bit as good as Seven Samurai but provides a more intriguing story. The comparison seems obvious, but this film deserves to be put on the same lists that Seven Samurai makes year after year.Coming in at 2 hours and 15 minutes, there are no "filler" scenes that normally bog down longer films. Every scene knows precisely why it's there... because it should be. It does this without it seeming overlong and balances the mystery, drama and action quite nicely.I rated the film a 10/10 as can be seen on the top but this film is too nice, I'm going to rate it twice.10/10
Layered Stories in Conflict---This has to be the best movie I have seen in a while. Good luck to me that I would like to pass on to you.We have two warring narrators. The first begins the film as an entry in his journal as local governor of a wealthy country estate. The film is closed with him finishing his entry, some days later. This official narrative deviates from what we see at the end.His story: one, then a second unattached ronin appeal to commit suicide in their courtyard. The first of these it is plain is just looking to be paid to leave, but our narrator is very strict about cleaving to that ronin's story. If he says he wants to kill himself, well then he must. This poor man had sold his sword and was now carrying bamboo, and it is this that he was forced to use. The resulting death is disturbing.So midway in the film, we have a samurai who has suffered because he was forced to live his story, forced by the narrator-governor who we later watch not live the story he has created and instead change it to suit.Now along comes an older samurai with the same request. He is dealt with in the same manner, but insists on telling a story to the assembled household before killing himself. He tells an amazing story: a fall from grace of his master, the dissolution of the household, poverty. His frail daughter and her son lay dying without a few coins for a doctor. The man's son is his daughter's husband, and it is he that came and was forced to die. The wife and son do as well, shortly after. Details of that death were told by the governor to the elder samurai earlier, though known because of the mocking way the body was returned.Until now, we have a classic case of warring narrative. We have the captive audience assembled. One storyteller is an official, so much so that he controls the official version of the film's story. The other has power in his gritty, true story. That story, incidentally is very close to what I consider noir: a random innocent fellow is cast in circumstances that seem full of circumstance and accident. The events of his life are played out not as they would in real life but as they would in a fictional life in a story told by others.Truth versus power in a struggle for the story of the film, essentially a struggle for the allegiance of the outer audience: us.The two beings as they face off are perfect in small mannerisms belying tension.Then slowly, the governor's world explodes as we learn new bits of the elder ronin's story of recent events. Many die.We (the audience) and control of all the cinematic effects was won by the ronin. Our governor is seen at the end writing the official account to be seen by his master that for his safety eradicates all story on both sides. The main actor, the winner, features in some of Kurosawa's best work as well.
Enervated samurais living in penury perform the sacred act of Evisceration:- Hara-kiri---While Japanese movies are synonymous to Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, this movie has neither of them. It's an unprecedented movie that leaves you brood over the plight of the once-great-warriors of the medieval Japan. The movie is aided by brilliant handling of the camera and loud yet powerful background music. The duel between Tsugumo and Omodaka set in the backdrop of plains with bushes ruffling against the gale was the most impressive scenes in the movie.Samurais, warriors known for their fighting skills and adept wielders of sword, are unemployed and are forced to live in penury after their clans make truce. They even struggle to get a job with workers demanding samurais not be employed. They resort to threatening other clans by saying they'd perform ancient religious practice of Hara-kiri, which is to disembowel oneself, if they are not awarded with a bounty.One such samurai Tsugumo offers his life to the Lyi clan. He's enlightened with the story of a man who gave exactly the same details as Tsugumo. They narrate the story of a certain Motome, who was so poverty-stricken that he had a bamboo instead of a blade and performs the practice in the most atrocious fashion. Motome's sacrifice served as an example to all those samurais who seek fortune in the name of intimidation to end one's life. Tsugumo confesses he was willing to perform hara-kiri whole-heartedly bu wishes his head be slashed by a great warrior of the clan. The warrior is ill and Tsugumo suggests two more names and all the three men have taken ill. The head of the clan senses Tsugumo's plot to procrastinate. Tsugumo wishes to narrate his story before it's time to enter the other world.He concedes that he and Motome were acquainted. Motome was his son-in-law, who taught in the neighborhood to earn a living. Stricken by poverty and an ailing wife and neonate son in the house, he fails to find a job and even sells his priced sword to earn a little money. He then heads to the Lyi clan to implore for the money but he's forced into performing Hara-kiri. Without medication and care, Tsugumo's daughter and grandson pass on. Tsugumo enlightens the men of the clan what actually happened to the men who responsible for his son-in-law's death in a way. An exasperated head orders Tsugumo be severed by the swords and pierced by spears. Tsugumo resists for a while, takes the life of 4 and lacerates 8 others before he dies.The head of the clan orders the 3 absentees be killed by skilled men and cover up all the killings in the name of illness thereby receiving appreciation from the administration.A 10/10 movie.
A Heartbreaking and Tragic Story of Poverty and Revenge---In 1630, after a long period of peace in Japan after the end of the clans, thousand of samurais do not have masters and are living in absolute poverty. The ronin Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) and former samurai of Lord of Geishu arrives at the house of Lord Lyi requesting a spot to commit hara-kiri (an honorable form of suicide through self-inflicted disembowelment followed by decapitation under the samurai code).Tsugumo is received by Umenosuke Kawabe (Yoshir? Aoki), who tells the story of the young samurai Motome Chijiiwa (Akira Ishihama) that arrived at the house also asking for a place to commit hara-kiri but expecting to receive coins instead. The warrior Hikokuro Omodaka (Tetsur? Tanba) convinces the clan to force Chijiiwa to really commit suicide using his bamboo blade as an example to other samurais that would appear using the same pretext to receive coins from the master.Tsugumo discloses that the lad Chijiiwa was his son-in-law that was forced to the situation expecting to raise some money to treat his sick wife and baby son. Further, Tsugumo had arrives in the house expecting to die not committing suicide, but revenging Chijiiwa, his daughter and his grandson."Harakiri" is a heartbreaking and tragic story of poverty and revenge in a period when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa clan and thousand of samurais lost their work with the fall of the clans. This film is a little masterpiece based on the wealthy history and culture of Japan and the screenplay uses flashbacks and gives an explanation of this period of story for those that do not have a minimum knowledge of the history of Japan. The Internet is a useful tool to understand the big picture of this historical moment.The acting is top-notch and the cinematography in black and white is magnificent. My vote is ten.Title (Brazil): Not Available
Harakiri, the classic Samurai tale.---Harakiri is a classic tale of the Samurai, or in this case the Ronin. Masaki Kobayashi does an extraordinary job of incorporating western elements along with typical Japanese humor and vengeance, to deliver one of the key Jidai-Geki films in the history of Japanese cinema. The central idea of the film is to expose the audience to the egotistical, dishonorable side of the samurai, and does so by following Hanshiro (the protagonist) as he calls out the Iyi Clan for disobeying the Bushido Code. Samurai's live off honor, but in a world full of war and violence, this film proves that all morals and honor can be lost, and reveals the sick ways that people go about getting a form of entertainment.
Masterpiece---I have seen 6,035 motion pictures in my life. I have seen many of these more than once. I am not boasting. Nor am I proud that not only have I spent so many years of my life in front of a flickering screen but that I actually know the number of films that I have seen.With that said, "Seppuku" ("Hara-kiri") makes that whole trip worth while. For every hundred pieces of celluloid tripe you can be fortunate to find a diamond in the rough and for me that was my first experience with this Kobayashi masterpiece. Pure enjoyment, pure excitement.The film is brilliantly constructed and multi-layered in such a way that the film defies genre classification. To call it a "samurai film" is akin to categorizing "Psycho" as a murder mystery. "Seppuku" could easily slide into the mystery, suspense, drama, or western genres and feel right at home. Perhaps an eastern film noir, if you will.Kobayashi's telling of the tale incorporates elements of despair, tradition, fortitude, revenge but mostly love, pride and honor in a grand visual style.The story's setting, direction and Tatsuya Nakadai's strong performance invite the inevitable comparison to Kurosawa and his favorite samurai Toshiro Mifune. All are of such high merit that I would propose ignoring the temptation to compare and appreciate the genius involved in "Seppuku".For those who have not seen "Seppuku" of course I strongly recommend that you do so but I also suggest that you avoid reading any synopsis and take delight in watching the tale unfold.10/10 (and not too many of the 6,035 are 10's)