The story of Assassination begins with the events of 1853 when “four black ships” — the foreign steamboats of Commander Matthew Perry — anchored at Edo Bay, sparking civil unrest and the major political maneuvering that saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. At a time when assassination had become a disturbing political tool, Shinoda’s film follows Hachiro Kiyokawa (Tetsuro Tamba), an ambitious, masterless samurai whose allegiances drift dangerously between the Shogunate and the Emperor. Filmed in richly stylish black and white ‘Scope by cinematographer Masao Kosugi, Shinoda’s film explores the character of Kiyokawa as he singlehandedly attempts, against a backdrop of betrayal and abrupt violence, to prevent the outbreak of civil war. —Masters of Cinema
Masahiro Shinoda is one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Japanese New Wave, along with Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura. While Oshima’s films were often a venue for political provocation and Imamura’s work seemed to be a bawdy refutation of Yasujiro Ozu’s refined passivity, Shinoda’s movies detail the spiritual emptiness of post-war Japanese life and search for some essence of the Japanese character.
Shinoda was born into one of the most illustrious families in central Gifu Prefecture in 1931. His ancestors were large landowners and village leaders of a small town that is now part of Gifu City. They also had a long literary and cultural heritage. His great uncle was the model for the main character in one of Toson Shimazaki’s novels, and Shinoda’s cousin is one of Japan’s leading abstract calligraphers. As a child, Shinoda was studious, applying himself to mathematics and physics; but by the end of World War II, he experienced the same sort of bitter disillusionment as… read more
Bearing a passing resemblance to Kurosawa's Yojimbo in the sense that the major protagonist continuously shifts his allegiance from one faction to another, Shinoda's samurai classic overcomes the complexity of its storyline to emerge as a riveting period political drama. Fellow director Kon Ichikawa considered this film to be Shinoda's finest achievement and he may be right. Just don't ask me to explain the plot.....
deslumbrante puesta en escena pero alejada de mi. violenta y afilada cual hoja de katana
If I wasn't so god damn tired I'm sure I would have enjoyed this much more than I did, as it had such incredible potential through my hazy perception. The French New Wave influence, the attention to detail and striking black and white imagery, this has all the puzzle pieces of something I would salivate over, if I wasn't salivating out of tiredness.