My sense of humour must be in bad shape, because what i mainly see here is a sadistic system and a man who from the moment he puts his corn down just wants some dignity and tries an act of insurrection that fails completely in the end when only alienation can bring a smile.
This is a truly beautiful film to follow Matsutmoto's Symbol, which I also thoroughly enjoyed for its invention and splendour. This film is different in tone, for its hero is a muted Samurai tasked with the job of making a young Prince smile again following the death of his mother. Takaaki Nomi puts in a sublime performance as the Samurai, and the ending is unpredictable but perfect in tone. Such a sweet little film.
Scabbard Samurai demonstrates that a movie doesn't have to be just one thing. Somehow a movie merging an episodic series of vaudeville-esque gags with an absurdist take on the samurai mythos manages to offer a meditation on mono no aware: the inevitable transience of life and the passage from the old to the young, from death to life and back again. Recommendable on a whole number of levels!
i did not see that beautiful and heartbreaking ending coming. unlike 'symbol', i think this one has a special, candid touch on its main character very soul - even though they cannot be compared, it is a nice parameter; matsumoto did something very unique here. instant favorite.
When I watched Hitoshi Matsumoto's first two movies, I was blown away and relieved to see good Japanese cinema made after 2000, which is scarce. Now this movie doesn't have that bittersweet existentialism found in his previous ones, but is packed with Japanese TV stupid humor and cheesy morality. It's not funny and it's not smart. What a letdown...
Amazingly warm, touching, and sad film, that truly gets to your heart. Even if the structure is repetitious for the most part, it manages to overcome that and get progressively tense towards the end. Truly unique mixture of silliness, comedy, sadness and despair, masterfully blended together. This film also portrays the ancient Japanese spirit and values. Great cinema.
Quickest way for a comedy to condemn itself is to center its premise around trying to make people laugh - which I realize isn't the ultimate point here, but the actual point takes far too long to make. Certainly not one of Matsumoto's best, but I still revere his enthusiasm!
Probably Matsumoto's straightest film - which says a lot. An interesting take on entertainment, and the public ransom of being entertaining. In the end, the comedy and sado-masochism look a lot alike. It's a homage to Japanese comedy but it's a swipe too. As usual in his movies, the end looks to turn the material into something transcendental. It didn't quite work for me. Plus he loses a star for the octopus scene.
In comparison to “Symbol” and “Big Man Japan” this one feels like a normal movie. A traditional story in which the the main characters have to complete a mission or suffer the consequences. No outlandish creatures or weird parallel worlds, instead a tad sentimental story of personal growth. But it’s still got outlandish humour and plenty of weird stuff, so Matsumoto fans won’t be disappointed.
Make a young Lord cry within 30 days or commit seppuku, that is the challenge for a masterless samurai in this sweet drama from director Mitoshi Matsumoto (who has become a new favourite of mine after seeing both this and Symbol). The performances are all a lot of fun, and things lead up to a wonderfully effective finale.