Appearing at first like a standard samurai movie, this Japanese film is a tragic drama with overtones from Japan’s classic theaters: Kabuki and Noh. Indeed, the protagonist’s unwitting self-destruction resembles that of Oedipus in Greek drama. Gengo (Katsuo Nakamura) is a ronin, a samurai-for-hire, which, according to the samurai ethic, is no kind of human being at all. He spends some time with a courtesan (a kind of countrified geisha, not a prostitute) and the courtesan and her husband rob him. In seeking retaliation, he wreaks havoc in their community, kills the courtesan, and drives her husband to suicide. But all is not as it appears to be. Gengo is a deposed nobleman, and the courtesan, unaware of his identity, was a supporter of his cause. In robbing the anonymous ronin, she was continuing her campaign to raise money to make possible the nobleman’s reinstatement. In killing his supporters in this way, Gengo has violated the deepest ethics of feudal lordship. —Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
Toshio Matsumoto (born March 25, 1932) is a Japanese film director and video artist. He was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan and graduated from Tokyo University in 1955.
His first short was Ginrin, which he made in 1955, however his most famous film is Funeral Parade of Roses (Bara no soretsu). Funeral Parade of Roses influenced Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange heavily. The film was a retelling of Oedipus Rex, featuring a transsexual (portrayed by Peter) trying to move up in the world of the Japanese gay bars.
Matsumoto has published many books of photography and is currently a professor and Dean of Arts at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. He was also the President of the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences. —Wikipedia
Toshi Mataumoto weaves many a warning and personal critique against the superficialities and shortcomings of our mortal world. All of this happens in.. a matter of about 2 and a half hours. Long, yes, but with intensely beautiful & dramatically executed shots, avant-garde editing choices and the kind of dedicated acting you can only find in Japanese films up until the 1980s... > http://tinyurl.com/cmvg8km
http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_southbank/film_programme/august_seasons/shinjuku_diaries_films_from_the_art_theatre_guild_of_ja The film will be screened at BFI Southbank as part of Shinjuku Diaries: Films from the Art Theatre Guild season (1st - 31st Aug) Screening on 21st introduced by me : D
Thematically and stylistically taking place in endless night. "SHURA" is a tour de force samurai chamber film. It´s like Sam Peckinpah and Ingmar Bergman teamed up and did a samurai film. It´s as emotionally violent as it is gorgeous in style. The use of darkness and creative use of few set pieces, deletes all sensation of space, making it endlessly dark. This movie had me at the edge of my seat.