Sword’s Law

HARAKIRI (which is really called SEPPUKU), a truly savage piece of assault-course celluloid, was one of the first films I ever Shadowplayed, and I was happy to revisit it for Electric Sheep in the light of the welcome new DVD and BluRay from Masters of Cinema. Masaki Kobayashi might be best known for KWAIDAN (which is really called KAIDAN), but I actually prefer this one.

Buy —

Harakiri (Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD) [Masters of Cinema]

Or, if American, there’s the Criterion Blu:

Harakiri (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

7 Responses to “Sword’s Law”

  1. SEPPUKU and REBELLION are real masterpieces of cinema. Actually they aren’t even Samurai films but really period movies depicting the hypocrisy of feudalism.

    But I don’t think they are anti-Samurai, because the most heroic characters in both are of course themselves swordsmen. What makes his films radical is to critique the system that holds them in place or actually look at them as part of a system.

  2. But Kobayashi’s samurai heroes derive their courage and honour from themselves: ultimately the samurai code is corrupt.

    Must get round to watching The Human Condition and Tokyo Saiban.

  3. It’s certainly not some Macho claptrap, that’s for sure. In fact, REBELLION is unusual for being women centered and that made it popular in Japan, it became a cross-over appealing to its women’s film tradition(which is actually its dominant genre) and the guy’s movie Samurai fans, as per Donald Richie.

    It’s a pity he didn’t make too many films. I think it was less than twenty. He was a great talent.

  4. A pity that so few of them are easily available, also. Still, the situation’s certainly improved from when Kwaidan was the only one you could realistically expect to come across.

  5. david wingrove Says:

    Guy Maddin is one of the few authentic geniuses working in film today, and I’m thrilled to hear that he’s teamed up with the sublime Udo Kier.

    I’d love to know what role Udo plays in KEYHOLE, a modern-day riff on the Ulysses myth. Might I suggest the transsexual Tiresias, whom Ulysses visit in Hades? That sounds like Typecasting Heaven!

  6. Metempsychosis!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: