Tuesday Class Canceled

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Tuesday, March 9 class is cancelled due to instructor health.

Please submit your papers as e-mail attachments to
ander025@umn.edu by 2:30 today.
We should have
class on Thursday.

This week's film has three parts. Viewing of Samurai I:
Musashi Miyamoto
is required. Viewing of Samurai II:
Duel at Ichijoji Temple
and Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu
Island
is recommended but not required. See you
Thursday.

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((I know you'll open up a new thread for our posts on the movie we watched this week, but I am anticipating being very busy with midterms and studying, to the point where I'll probably forget to post if I don't post now. Sorry if it's weird or inconvenient...))

Musashi Miyamoto, the first part of Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Samurai” trilogy, begins with a pair of friends leaving their homes and joining an army. Unfortunately, however, they find themselves on the losing side and must flee from their pursuers. In doing so, they take refuge in a countryside home occupied by a mother and daughter as they wait for their wounds to heal. Takezo, the main character, leaves on night after refusing the women’s temptations; Matahachi, meanwhile, stays behind, abandoning, essentially, his honor. After leaving, Takezo finds himself on the run from the law because his hometown believes he left Matahachi for dead. While on the run, he is taken in by a Buddhist monk who tries to “moralize” the wild and free Takezo. As a result, Takezo adopts the name Musashi Miyamoto, and despite having fallen for Otsu, he leaves to go further his training, departing with two messages for Otsu left behind: “Soon I will be back” and “forgive me.” The relationship is presumably explored in deeper contexts in the following two films.
This film won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1955, and it is not difficult to see why. The first thing I noticed was the incredibly grandiose feeling that many early shots exhibited—shots throughout did as well, but my impression lay more with the shots right out of the gate. For example, when Takezo and Matahachi first meet up as volunteers, they are seen in the middle of a great field with gigantic, beautiful, green mountains in the background and a long river closer. Later, during the horse-riding scene, the distant background, again, shows great mountains, while the nearer background, and even the foreground, both contain an abundance of coniferous trees. A third example happened when Takezo ran away from the mother and daughter. It was at night, and in the distant background could be seen the silhouette of a mountain. Shortly afterwards, Takezo is walking through a forest and a great waterfall is seen as he walks into view in front of it.
Somewhat accompanying the grandiose, epic feel was the battle scene in the beginning. Many horses were used, as well as elaborate sets and locations with plenty of special effects presumably used. Fog and rain and simulated gunshots were all used during this scene; additionally, a large trench had been dug. And plenty of extras were used for these great battle scenes. The budget of the film was unquestionably higher than those of previous films we’ve seen.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Anderson published on March 9, 2010 11:35 AM.

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