Seven Samurai...(poss. spoilers for any crazy folk who ain't seen it!)

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by Colin Droidmilk, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    Just watched this again for the first time in about 7 years. Even though I've seen it many times before, the sheer power of the thing to move the soul took me unawares all over again. I was getting wet-eyed during just the first exchange of glances between lead samurai Kambei and Mifune (while Kambei has his head shaved prior to dealing with the thief). And by the time we got to the scene where Kambei finally takes pity on the farmers and agrees to help, overcome as he is by their sacrifice of their only pitiful resource, their rice, my face was an embarrassing sopping mess. Why the tears? I dunno - a mixture of being destroyed by the overwhelming magnificence of every single aspect of the film in technical and artistic terms (in the way one might cry on encountering an oasis in a desert) and the sheer overpowering force of Kurosawa's humanity. Or something. I guess. Or maybe I'm just a big puff. Anyway, I thought, 'Bloodyhell how am I going to get through this? Am I gonna sit here weeping for the next 3 hours?' I managed to hold it in for most of the time, but there were many eruptions...really embarrassing.

    In reading up on the movie I was intrigued to see that during script development Samurai warriors had presented Kurosawa with the same problems that Jedi warriors later presented to George Lucas in his search for a SW story. Namely, how to avoid the boredom of a row of dedicated, slightly Zen-headed warriors. Thus was born Mifune's character. Kurosawa realised he had to have an off-the-wall, fun, flaky kind of Samurai to leaven the brew. Lucas found a successful solution too: Han Solo. The word 'prequels' will make no appearance in this post other than in this sentence.

    So yeah... and when the film ended, me and the GF just sat there watching the dvd menu for about 20 minutes, just unable to let go, just watching that loop of slowed down shots from the final battle roll past over and over again...
     
  2. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Han Solo is more from The Hidden Fortress, being the bad boy that the princess falls for.[with her two goofy assistants. Samurai 1,2,& 3 has a farmboy trained by a monk to be a warrior. Also a great trilogy.]

    But anyway, Seven Samurai is a great movie. I like the old translation. Supposedly the new translation is more accurate, but I like the original. Perhaps it's just because I saw it first.

    Fun fact; I read that the Seven Samurai was called the Magnificent Seven, until the cowboy remake, when they changed the english name to keep them separate.
    The cowboy version is nothing in comparison. Seven Samurai has such strong themes all the way through.
     
  3. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    I have both Criterion translations. The second is superior, but there are a few things that seem like anachronisms ("screw samurai" replaces "to hell with samurai" for instance).

    99.99999% sure you're incorrect about the original title being Mag. Seven terryr.

    This is easily my favorite movie, and one of the most perfectly visually composed films ever made. I watch it once a year, minimum, and expose American high schoolers to it in my Film Studies class.

    I've seen this movie dozens of times, and I still get choked up when Kyuzo and Kikuchiyo die. And the music is just...visceral. When the banner is first hoisted and that music swells, it just kills me.

    This movie is incredibly long, and I wouldn't trim one flawless second.

    When I first started shaving my head, I intentionally cultivated rubbing the stubble in honor of Kambei :)

    (Side note: I'm listening to the audio books of my favorite series, the Dark Tower. I'm on the Seven Samurai book right now, Wolves of the Calla. Good fun. Much better than A Bug's Life as remakes go :lol).
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  4. Leon Kowalski

    Leon Kowalski New Member

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    if you're going to be a samurai, you're going to need a big sword...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    I think he felt the need to carry the big sword precisely because he WASN'T a samurai. Making it pretty significant when it breaks and he uses a conventional sword, as if by fighting with the true samurai he's finally earned the right to.
     
  6. CTF

    CTF Sr Member

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    I don't feel it is long 'cause I'm enthralled by every single frame.

    I love it.
     
  7. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

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    One of my all time favourite films as well. Mifune's monologue (in which he reveals he is the son of a farmer) is brilliantly played. I am utterly moved by it every time despite it being subtitled.

    So the only version I own is a vhs copy- I assume this is the original translation?

    I'm going to have to save my pennies and buy the bluray.


    Kevin
     
  8. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Maybe had it backwards;

    Trivia - Seven Samurai

    This is also interesting;

     
  9. Jedi2016

    Jedi2016 Sr Member

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    It's funny, I never really learned their names.

    Anyway, I never saw this film until a year or so ago when Criterion released their Blu-ray version of the film, and I picked it up sight-unseen based on the feedback that the film has gotten over the years.

    And every bit well-deserved. This film is the very definition of a masterpiece. I couldn't believe it when I re-read the summary of the film after watching it to confirm that it really was almost three and a half hours long, because it sure as hell didn't feel like it. This is the single best example I've seen of the mastery of pacing and editing. At no time throughout the entire three and a half hours was I bored. This is the ONLY film of this length that I can say this about.

    And when I look deeper, and examine things like the writing, the acting, the cinematography... I still can't find anything to fault, even if I try. And I don't want to try!

    Absolutely sublime from start to finish, and perhaps THE definitive example of filmmaking in the twentieth century. I wonder how long it will be until we see another like Kurosawa, and another film like this one? Will we ever?
     
  10. franz bolo

    franz bolo Sr Member

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    Praise Criterion for releasing all the Kurosawa stuff!!

    FB
     
  11. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Good flick.

    I always give millet a funny look when I see it in the grocery store because of this movie.

    [​IMG]

    it's really not as bad as they make it out in the movie.

    :)

    Nick
     
  12. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Exactly :thumbsup
     
  13. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    More random 7 samurai goodness:

    The running. The way the actors run is just incredible.

    The way the farmers as a crowd are this surging mass of motion obeying Kurosawa's every desire - they flow around the screen almost like an animated crowd of forest animals from a 40s Disney picture.

    The stages through which the contract between the farmers and samurai moves. First, we feel the samurai are doing them a favour, then that the farmers deserve to be abandoned for plundering wounded samurai, then, through Kikichio (Mifune) we see that the samurai have an actual social responsibility toward the farmers, that they shouldn't be seeing this as a favour they're loftily bestowing from on high, but a moral duty. And as the battle nears, the contract changes finally into comradeship and unity of purpose. This development is expressed in the fallen Heihachi's banner, which just makes it all the more killing when Mifune raises it on the roof. And it's brilliant the way Kurosawa has the camera scroll down that banner not once but twice, underlining the bond that now exists between farmer and samurai and filling them with new courage. It's a subtle political point Kurosawa's making but he blends it with the pathos of Heihachi's death, resulitng in a knockout emotional punch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  14. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ditto!!

    What a Master filmmaker


     
  15. MooCriket

    MooCriket Master Member

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    I'm ashamed to admit, that I had not watched this film prior to looking at this thread. Thanks to your thread, and the comments here in, I quickly have remedied that. Thank you. What a truly masterpiece of a film!
     
  16. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Have you watched any Kurosawa before? I'd recommend Ikiru if you want to see more.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044741/
     
  17. MooCriket

    MooCriket Master Member

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    No I have not, and thanks Bro!
     
  18. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    No, wouldn't like 'screw samurai'. On my version I've got 'you damned Samurai'...guess there must be a few translations knocking about.

    Also, my version (British Film Institute) claims to be the longest version available yet wiki says this is 207 minutes. Mine's 190 minutes. How many minutes you chaps got?

    MooCriket, I'm so glad the thread made you check out the film. Great!
     
  19. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    http://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Crite...NXYG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324247377&sr=8-2

    207 minutes. Despite a few small annoyances like "screw samurai," the translation really is superior. You realize how much nuance is absent from previous translations (I've seen two earlier translations). This is the set to own. The translation, the image, the extras...You won't regret it.

    Anthony, my pleasure. I'll talk Kurosawa to anyone who'll listen :lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  20. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

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  21. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Ran is good, but as far as his Shakespeare adaptations go I've gotta cast my vote for Throne of Blood. It's slower and highly stylized (a modern noh play, essentially), but I prefer Macbeth to Lear, so that's my bias.

    Some Kurosawa critics think Red Beard and Dersu Uzala are too overt, simplistic, perhaps even preachy, but I find them both extremely uplifting.

    Of the ones I've seen (Ikiru, Seven Sam., Throne of Blood, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Hidden Fortress, Dersu U., Red Beard, Kagemusha, Ran, and Dreams...I think that's it...), I've only disliked two (Dreams and Sanjuro, though I may give Sanjuro a few more opportunities to grow on me).

    I actually rewatched Kagemusha this summer; I hadn't seen it in years. There's a lot going on below the surface in that one. A lot to think about. Beautifully written (and directed, naturally!)
     
  22. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

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    Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play! :)

    I haven't seen "Throne of Blood" either, so I'll be all over that! Actually "The Hidden Fortress" and "Yojimbo" are the only other Kurosawa films I've watched.


    Kevin
     
  23. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I don't mind "screw samurai". Maybe the translator really felt that was the best way to put across that moment. Not knowing Japanese there might be that crass informality to the phrase "the damned samurai" didn't put across correctly. Especially so if you enjoyed the rest of the translation so much.

    Just being a devil's advocate here. Translation is a tricky bird.

    Nick
     
  24. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    ^Good point. I suppose with me being British it just sounds a bit too specifically contemporary American. Nothing against American idioms, just don't want to be put in mind of America too much while visiting 16th century Japan! However, I do see that for Americans, it wouldn't necessarily be a distraction at all, but to a non-American it may come over as a bit too modern America-specific. For the UK audience a more crass vulger translation might be 'you bloody samurai' or '* you, samurai', but then this last one sounds too UK- specific to me. I wanna be in Japan not Yorkshire! So, yeah, tricky business, translation, definitely.

    So I'm missing 17 whole minutes of the film. Wow!
     
  25. blip

    blip Sr Member

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    Quiz.

    How many other films or TV episodes can you name using this storyline?
     
  26. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Mag. Seven, Bug's Life, Wolves of the Calla (book), and a Clone Wars ep. are all I know.

    Kevin, Throne of Blood adds one ingenius piece of motivation to Macbeth's murder of his friend Banquo. I won't spoil it though :)
     
  27. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Bug's life, Galaxy Quest and Three Amigos all are adaptations with the same "mistaken identity" twist to the classic plot.

    Batle Beyond the Stars.

    Madmax 2/Road Warrior is the one man version.

    Wikipedia article says that Seven Samurai was one of the first movie where the plot revolves around collect a team of people for a mission. If that's true then a crap load of heist "mission" movies owe a lot to Seven Samurai.

    In a bizarre way, we wouldn't have Armageddon if it weern't for Seven Samurai.

    Nick
     
  28. blip

    blip Sr Member

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    I never connected Galaxy Quest before.

    In the Seven Samuari, there was a scene where the young man and woman get to know eachother, it's in a lush spot by a river, I've always thought how perfect that shot would have been in color.

    [​IMG]

    Come to think of it, that particular sub plot really demonstrated his mastery of mood. The shot above also surprised me. It's like the director is having a little joke about how the curves of a woman are nothing but trouble to men.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  29. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey it's the young guy from thinking about killing and dying. Not all bad.

    Nick
     
  30. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Don't forget Runaway Train. Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa. He could never get funding and it was done by others. You can still see his touch.
    If it was filmed in Japan it would be called another one of his masterpieces.

    I'm amazed it never made back its money. On the original release anyway.

    Runaway Train (1985) - IMDb

    Excellent performances by Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay, and others.
     
  31. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Nick, it's funny you mention the Road Warrior. I always thought of that as a classic western (hell, they even circle up the "wagons") but there was so much cross-pollination of the western and samurai films that the lines blur entirely in some cases (Yojimbo being perhaps the most obvious) and my objection might be completely academic. It's neat to look at how westerns influenced samurai films...which then influenced westerns...which then influenced things like Road Warrior.
     
  32. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, a very incestual relationship at this point. Impossible to seperate the influence from one another.

    Nick
     
  33. Stansfield

    Stansfield Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Once had a guy argue with me that Seven Samurai was inspired by Magnificent Seven.

    :confused
     
  34. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Bet fifty bucks he's wrong and take the dumb * to wikipedia :lol
     
  35. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

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    Thanks! On my "Movies to Buy" list now! :)


    Kevin
     
  36. blip

    blip Sr Member

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    Do you think George Lucas managed to get Kurosawa's sense of humour into Star Wars IV?

    Here's a good link I found. Good comparison pictures between the two films.

    The Secret History of Star Wars
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  37. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    What's Star Wars IV? You mean Star Wars? lol...I think he got something of it, yeah... (though the SW humour obviously comes from other places too, notably screwball comedy in the sparring between Han and Leia)

    He certainly managed to get the line 'We were born to suffer. It's our lot in life' out of Samurai and into SW.
     
  38. blip

    blip Sr Member

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    [​IMG]

    Before I knew anything about Kurosawa, I was flicking through TV stations one day and came across the scene from the Hidden Fortress, the one where the two slaves are running down some huge steps - trying to avoid a massive battle. The banter between the two seemed straight out of Star Wars. I couldn't figure out how I was getting that Star Wars vibe while watching an old black and white Japanese film.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  39. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It was not released widely, I saw it in a "Art" house theatre.

    Great Movie!!


     
  40. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Yeah, it is.

    I just read it was going to have Karen Allen, Tom Berenger, and Jeff Bridges, but all three backed out. Berenger did Platoon.

    But the casting worked for me. Before I saw it I thought 'Jon Voight as a tough guy?' but it worked.
     
  41. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    I recently saw Midnight Cowboy for the first time...and now that will ALWAYS be Jon Voight for me :lol
     
  42. blip

    blip Sr Member

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    Not many people know that Midnight Cowboy is a copy of the Kurosawa classic, Midnight Samurai.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  43. Colin Droidmilk

    Colin Droidmilk Sr Member

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    Me, I'm looking forward to the hip-hop remake of The Rockford Files that also apparently has a heavy Kurosawa influence, Yo, Jimbo!
     
  44. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    You guys are killing me! :lol
     

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