Friday, March 24, 2006

Film Review: Yojimbo

Of all the Akira Kurasawa films I have seen, this one feels the most like a Western. Set in feudal Japan, Yojimbo is the story of a ronin samurai that happens upon a town that has been overrun by two rival gambling gangs. Having no money or belongings, he thinks it would be fun to clean out all of the corruption in this town. Whether he decides to do this as a matter of morality or otherwise is not made too clear in the film.

The Western parallels are certainly not coincidental--Yojimbo was directly adapted into A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone (the first "spaghetti Western")--and many of Kurasawa's other films have been adapted as well. The scene is a dusty, windy town in the middle of nowhere, all the citizens are afraid, the audience can't really trust anyone, and the music alternates between serious and whimsical.

In a broader Kurasawa sense, I liked Seven Samurai and Rashomon better, and Hidden about the same, but for my money, there isn't much better than these films. Yojimbo is a classic film that has sparked a lot of the films of today. Watch it if you like good stuff.

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5 comments:

Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Hee hee "fuedal."

Southie said...

Tara, what are you talking about, you crazy woman?

Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Yesterdau we were talking about fiefs and serfs. Which I was part of feudal Europe, right? Fiefs and serfs and feudalism are funny to me.

Sue Ellen Mischke said...

yesterday, I meant.

Southie said...

Yeah, that's right! I forgot about that! Hahaha. =) Fiefdom.