Monday, April 20, 2009

Kagemusha

Kagemusha is a 1980 Akira Kurosawa film. Takashi Shimura has a small role in this, his last, film. This Criterion edition of the movie is 3 hours long. That's long. I'm glad this was not my first Kurosawa experience.

trailer:


Roger Ebert likes it. Entertainment Weekly has a short review. Variety says, "Kurosawa, at 70, shows himself young indeed in the impressive handling of this historical drama". DVDTalk calls it "a truly under appreciated masterpiece," adding,
Kagemusha is hardly the best Kurosawa film to start with (go out and grab The Seven Samurai or Yojimbo if you've yet to be initiated into his world) as it unfolds at a fairly slow pace and at three hours in length it might try the patience of those unfamiliar with the way that the man made movies. But for more seasoned viewers, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this.

The New York Times says,
Kagemusha is probably the director's most physically elaborate, most awesome film, full of magnificent views of lines of mounted soldiers slowly crossing grand landscapes or galloping along seashores, against sunsets of a magnificence that seems to foreshadow the end of the world. Kagemusha is majestic, stately, cool, and, in many of its details, almost abstract. It appears very much to be the work of a director who, now seventy years old, is no longer concerned with the obligations of conventional drama or even with moral questions. He is, instead, contemplating history, not as something to be judged but, rather, acknowledged and, possibly, understood.

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