Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa is a master at his craft and Seven Samurai is a definite masterpiece. I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch a three and a half hour tale about a group of samurai and a small farming village if it weren’t handled by Kurosawa. If this film were made today, I can guarantee you the amount of action would be increased from about the hour it takes up in the original to a large portion of the film; yet the reason Seven Samurai has endured is not the epic samurai battles, it’s the heart behind the film.

Seven Samurai is not a small story by any scope. A small farming village uncovers that they’re going to be raided and rather than lay down and die, they decide to see if they can enlist the help of samurai – the only problem is they only payment they have is food. Due to this they can only seek out samurai of the more desperate kind instead of what they view as the cream of the crop. They end up with seven of the most noble, forthright samurai they can find, who return to the village to attempt not only to protect the village itself but attempt to teach the villagers how to protect themselves.

What makes Kurosawa’s film so significant in my opinion, is the closing lines of the film. The battle has been fought, the samurai have won, and as they prepare to leave samurai reflect on the battle and the victory that was “won”. It’s poignant, and a moment that both the characters and the audience must think about.

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Kambei Shimada: Go to the north. The decisive battle will be fought there.
Gorobei Katayama: Why didn't you build a fence there?
Kambei Shimada: A good fort needs a gap. The enemy must be lured in. So we can attack them. If we only defend, we lose the war.

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