Plot: Twilight Samurai movie is about unassuming and modest samurai living in the end of Edo period. In order to feed his family - wife, two small daughters and a senile mother, he sold his sword. But he approved his skills with wooden sword defeating opponent in accidental fight. Shortly he was involved into conflict inside his clan and recieved an order to kill another skilful samurai.
Awards and nomination: Won twelve Japanese Academy Awards upon its release in 2002, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. It was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for Best Foreign Language Film.
Comment: This movie is the first film in Yamada Yoji's samurai trilogy.
«With incredible patience Yamada unfolds the tale of "Twilight" Seibei. The film is deliberate, concise and beautiful in its execution. The film harkens back to the heyday of jidai-geki but does so in a different and unique manner. The violence, while still dished out in sharp bursts, has a very real quality typically ignored in chanbara or jidai-geki productions: a perfect illustration of which has Seibei, towards the end of the movie, step over the body of a slain samurai assassin who is now frozen in rigor mortis and engulfed by flies.»
«Based on the best-selling novel by Shuhei Fujisawa, and directed by Yoji Yamada famous in Japan for his Tora-san series (more than 48 episodes), The Twilight Samurai is one of the best contemporary samurai movies. With a wonderful cast of characters and a touching story of a man outcast by the changing times he lives in, Twilight Samurai is a surprising piece of art.»
«If Yamada's story is a far cry from other samurai films, so are his visuals. For the most part he avoids the grand, panoramic compositions of a Kurosawa, preferring to concentrate on Seibei and his intimate surroundings. The few times he does show us some broad vistas, an interruption always appears; some sign that Seibei is not free to do as he wishes. This is most clear very early on in the film, beginning at 3:36 in its running time. A shot begins with an impressive, scenic view of a majestic mountain as seen from the roof of a castle. As the camera pulls back we realize that we are looking through the bar-like slats of a window, and that the free and open view is really the view from an almost prison-like environment. Reinforcing the image is a drummer, beating a slow, monotonous rhythm; it reminds the viewer of those old films showing galley slaves rowing to the beat of a kettle drum. This is our introduction to Seibei's world, and this ten second shot speaks volumes about what to expect.»
«The story is told with true Zen Buddhist characteristics, slowly focusing on and developing a character rather than appealing to the short attention span culture of today with flashy scenes and frequent climaxes. It's a deeply involving story about a good man struggling with his position in history and in his life, one in which anyone alienated or in a transition in life can relate to. Director Yoji Yamada uses low lighting resulting in beautifully understated cinematography, great character development, and an engrossing story to bring something very lovely and genuine to the table.»
«Yamada has a master's touch, creating a foggy rural world of hills, rivers, and trees in springtime. It always seems to be raining (and he shows us that Iguchi has holes in his wet socks, one more minor misery). Like The Hidden Blade (which would make a great double feature, by the way), The Twilight Samurai strips away all the glamour of the beknighted life to show just how down, dirty, and difficult Japanese life was in the 19th-century, even for those who lived in a supposedly superior class. It's consistently fascinating to see what happened as twilight falls on an entire way of life.»
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