Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

"Again we are defeated. The farmers have won. Not us."

This highly influential and critically acclaimed 1954 epic, Seven Samurai (七人の侍) by the late maestro Akira Kurosawa (黒澤 明 or 黒沢 明, 1910 – 1998) story, took place during the Warring States Period (戦国時代 - 15th to 17th Century). It is about a group of seven masterless samurai who was hired by farmers to protect them from marauding bandits. Each ronin has his own distinctive traits and skills like Kikuchiyo who is actually not a real samurai but his courage and mercurial attitude would proved ultimately worthy of a warrior. Then there is Kyūzō, an incredibly skilled, calm and cool swordsman who unfortunately could not match the advancement of weaponry.
With a running time of slightly over 3 hours, this is the movie which arguably established the now common concept of "plot element" whereby a group of individuals are gathered together to accomplish an objective. Watching this movie, it curiously does not feel like a typical movie made in 1954. Perhaps it incorporated certain technical and creative directions which are now widely applied such as slo-mo, stylised action sequences. It also re-introduced Toshirō Mifune (三船 敏郎, 1920 – 1997) who frequently stars in Kurosawa films like 1950 Rashomon (羅生門), to the global audience. Mifune would go on to cement his stardom further in 1961 Yojimbo (用心棒), another hit Kurosawa film.

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