The story is taken from rakugo (a traditional form of “sit-down” comedic narration), and focuses on the craftily versatile character of Saheiji, a man-about-town who gets stuck at a high-class brothel when he can’t pay the bill.
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The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa EraInstrueret afYûzô Kawashima
Maestro magician, prestidigitator of panache, Kawashima conjures a freewheeling farce of felicitous finesse in a bawdy bordello. Wiith lustrous lighting, consummate choreography and composition, 'tis a coruscating concoction of concuspicent cavortings, pissing and politicking in turbulent times- and for our company a cast of cute combative courtesans, seditious scheming samurai and a jovial japing drifter-grifter.
No film better portrays the decline of late Edo society and the death of the samurai than this one. Kawashima's film shows us how the poverty-struck samurai exploit their hereditary position in society while rest suffers. Then the modern, educated man comes and liberates people form the samurai. Even the loyalists serve as a mere side-plot in his film, which makes this film better than all other Bakumatsu jidai-geki.