Week 8 ALL3920


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The first scene that was interesting was the conversation between two men up in the tree overlooking the walking army. I thought that this was a great shot which served both the purpose of implying the characters interaction with the army as well as allowing the audience to view the military size and capacity. The use of the crane gives simple, smooth shots moving back and forth towards the characters; this creates beautiful shots that are usually followed by close-up shots of the characters involved.
This film seems to put a larger emphasis on the scenery in each shot. As Otsu and Matahachi discuss his plans to leave with Takezou, they are framed with a beautiful sunset in the background. As the two men dig the trench and the enemies approach them, the intensity of the storm is heightened by the added special effects of the lighting. It seems that lighting is used as a symbol to signify conflict; it is used again when the bandit come to collect the treasure that the mother Oko and daughter Akemi take from the deceased soldiers.
It is also interesting to note that the use of nature is also being used as a measure of time and to signify transition. The camera focuses on the battle and slowly redirects to the sky where we see the sun start to shine; we are then shown the battlefield and the audience inferences that the battle has finished.
I also thought it was a cool contrast to see the ruined battlefield in the foreground and then see the serene beauty of the wild in the background. It seems to amplify the differences between the two sceneries.
In this scene there are a couple of interesting techniques used: one is the entrance of one of the other diggers whose face enters from the left side of the screen already at a close up. The audience immediately focuses, almost as if by force, from the two men to the man in front. I thought this was an interesting technique that really directs the audience to the character that the director wants us to focus on. There is another stunning close-up that we have not seen before that happens during the fight of the bandits versus Takezou. At one part, Takezou slays a bandit and the bandit turns to face the camera as he falls defeated. In that instance the audience sees the face of the slain bandit which we have not seen before.

Miyamoto Musashi-
This film starts off by introducing our two friends who are considering joining the army, one wild and tied down by nothing, the other cowardly and tethered by a mother and wife to be. After joining, however, they find that their side is losing the war and are being repelled by the enemy. Our two characters must flee and, with injuries and no supplies, are forced to seek refuge at a house they come upon. Matahachi proves to be dishonorable; trying to steal the affections of an unwilling girl while Takezo turns down the advances made upon him and decides to leave while Matahachi stays behind. We find that Takezo has been disowned by all his living relatives and that he is now on the run from his entire village because they think he abandoned Matahachi to die on the battlefield while the opposite is essentially true.
A Buddhist monk turns out to be the one who can trap Takezo by using food and comfort to lure him close. He doesn’t appear to want the bounty on Takezo’s head however, and tries to impart morality on him instead. His first attempts do not succeed, but he is eventually able to isolate him and make him try to turn his life around. The movie ends with Takezo being titled “Miyamoto Musashi” to symbolize his newly changed life and leaves behind his love to finish his moral training. This shows his devotion to the true samurai way and his willingness to make sacrificies for it.
This film showcases many scenes where a truly epic background can be seen. Whether it is a mountain or a foggy forest, several shots give the audience a profound feeling of something amazing. The battle at the beginning showcases a massive battle in relation to the films we have seen thus far. The sense of scale in this movie can easily make us feel quite small. Horses also take a larger role in this film and several can be seen throughout the film. Weather manipulation also seems to take center stage in the production of this film. Several scenes have rain and wind creating the desired atmosphere for the events on screen and really conveyed the emotions well.

Miyamoto Musashi is actually the first of a trilogy of movies by Japanese director Inagaki Hiroshi, featuring the rise of Miyamoto Musashi into warrior-hood. The movie tells the story of Miyamoto Takezo, a young farmer who is also an outcast from his small village community. Takezo leaves the village with his friend Matahachi, to fight in a great battle and afterward, when the friends become separated, Takezo attempts to travel back to the village, but is unwelcome. He tries to tell Matahachi’s family that their presumptions of his death are unwarranted, yet the whole village is seeking out Takezo’s capture. Takezo is captured twice in the film, both times from the Miyamoto village priest Takuan. The first time, Takuan strings up Takezo in a tree and Otsu, the love interest lets him down. The second time, the priest’s intention becomes clear as Takezo is locked in castle room, filled with the materials necessary for the enlightenment he needs to become a distinguished samurai. Years pass and Takezo is ceremoniously given the name Musashi, a name more fit for a samurai. He returns to his love Otsu, and honorably leaves her to roam the earth alone in search of greater personal training and enlightenment. This fantastic story of achievement is accompanied by many examples of Inagaki’s great directing. His rendition of Miyamoto Musashi’s story is filled with marvelous and sometimes strange cinema techniques.

One of the most fantastic pieces of cinema techniques in Miyamoto Mushahi is the soundtrack. The film has an incredible musical score that injects feeling and emotion into the movie. The action is perfectly matched with the music that goes along with each scene. The soundtrack is surely one of the elements in Miyamoto Musashi that keeps the film memorable.
To go along with the great music, Miyamoto Musashi also has a distinct style of photography that interjects many scenes that can be considered unnecessary, as Inagaki uses his own shots of attractive scenery to fill the void between sequences. Many scenes in Miyamoto Musashi are short little segments that contain no dialogue, little action, and conclude with a fade-to-black which serves a purpose only to be a transition between scenes. However most shots in the film are effective and normal examples of cinema that we see today in the movies we watch. To me, this film surprisingly strikes me as a Western style film. The cinematography, with exception of the strange unnecessary shots, the whole movie seems like it could be a movie that could be released in theaters today. Even though it is about fifty years old, thanks to a brilliant script and great cinematography, Miyamoto Musashi has aged very well.

This is the first Miyamoto Musashi film in the trilogy by Inagaki Hiroshi. This is the first out of any movie we have seen in color. The color adds a lot to the movie and allows for Ingaki to play with color symbolism, contrast, and lighting. This film also utilizes Japanese Buddhist principles, such as naturalism and enlightenment. There are a few scenes that depict hits.
A lot of important scenes take place during the nighttime in this movie. One of them includes when the bandits come to invade the house to find Takezo. There is an intense swordfight inside the house and the bandits come in and out of the shadows. The fight then moves outside under the moonlight, which is a change from inside the house. It would have been difficult to do in only black and white as the distinction of faces and bodies would have been difficult to pinpoint.
Nature is also used in many different scenes. One of the scenes that stood out for me was when Takezo is riding the horse in the field with Akemi. The camera tracks them from behind the brush, and the mountains are in the background. It is a bright sunny day. As Takezo makes the horse go faster, they both fall off. Akemi tells Takezo not to blame the horse, but Takezo gets angry. I think this depicts Takezo’s foolishness, and his disrespect for nature. He needs to become enlightened to become nobler.
On the topic of enlightenment, Takezo is captured twice by the Buddhist monk Takuan. At first he is strung up in a tree, but does not understand why. He struggles and gets angry with the monk for doing so. However, it is learned that the monk’s intentions are not bad, as he will not sell over Takezo. Takezo calls himself a samurai in front of Takuan, and Takuan says that Takezo needs to learn.
After Takezo escapes the tree, Takuan locks him in the room. This time, even though he frets and gets angry at first like he did when he was tied to a tree, he begins that he needs to understand what he has to do. He returns years later with a new name, and a new attitude, understanding now that he needs to respect the earth and learn from it. Otsu is not so important to him anymore.
To me, this film is a classic. The scenery is beautiful and the cinematography is excellent. The story is also a dramatization of a classic Japanese tale, which makes the film even more prestigious. Ingaki hits the nail right on the head with this film.

Miyamoto Musashi is my favorite movie we have watched so far! It was so good! I didn't have time to watch all three parts, but I plan to watch the rest over spring break. Let me just say, it was very refreshing to watch a movie in color! I noticed that the outdoor scenes were much more artistic and beutiful with color. You can tell that the director aprreciatd nature by the way he added shots of mountains and scenery in the film. This movie is the first one we watched where there was an actually war-type battle in it, and I must say, it was extremely cool! The fact that it was raining during the battle made it more dramatic along with the conveniently time thunder and lightening. I liked how it stopped raining after the bettle was over. It was really cool during the battle how the camera moved along with the person running. It really made you feel like you were running with him. The gun shots with smoke were nice effects too.

The original soundtrack was interesting and I thought it fit the movie very nicely. The costumes were interesting. I liked the girls' costumes, but some of the male costumes where they were wearing thongs was weird. Also Akemi's hairstlye was distracting. Speaking of Akemi, I thought there was a good use of lighting when Matahachi is about to take advantage Akemi. The light from the cracks of the barn move across his face and it gives you an creepy feeling.

I really liked the transformation of Takezo's character throught the movie, and I thought the movie ended at a perfect place for the sequel. One last thing I appreciated in this movie was the humor. It was a nice treat after some of the depressing movies we've watched. Overall, this is a great movie!

Musashi Miyamoto

The first scene showing the army as it marches thru town was a great opening scene, giving viewers a feeling of what the size and strength of the army is. We first see Takezo and Matahachi in a tree. From this we can see that the two are close, and discussing about joining the army. From the dialogue we know that Takezo is alone with nothing to lose but Matahachi is already engaged and has his mother to look after. In the scene where he is talking to Otsu they are framed by the gates behind them. What is also great about this scene is the beautiful background of the sun setting. The shot with all the horses on the battle field is very powerful; you get the feeling of the size of the opposing force and their strength. The shocking scene we see next of all the dead people is gruesome but from that we see both men raise up and are still alive, helping each other escape. The house that they arrive to at first gives off a creepy feeling, with the fog passing in the back ground and darkness around it. We get a better look at their wounds in the close up of Takezo’s face. We can see the blood and dirt that cover his face. We know now that two months have passed, and the mother and daughter have helped them back to health. In the shot of Matahachi in the hut, apologizing to Otsu, we can see the pain and guilt he has. It’s quiet interesting how Otsu is throwing herself between both men and rejected by Takezo. We can tell that he is more honorable. We also find out that the mother daughter pair strips dead samurai of their valuables. Not only does the daughter but the mother also throw herself at Takezo. Again he denies her advances. Once he gets back to the village no one is on his side and thinks he has betrayed his friend. A great scene is that of Takezo running and the camera following him quickly. The far shot and high angel shot of the town’s people still looking for Takezo is also quite amazing as well. Up in the mountains we come across Takezo again where the priest and Otsu feed him, he refuses to go back with them. A great scene which is comedic as well as meaningful is that of Takezo hanging from the tree. It shows that Takezo’s great fighting spirit yet, his stubbornness as well. We see Otsu’s devotion later on as she saves Takezo. Although she has given him the chance to live he knows that he cannot bring her happiness. The stream of horse men chasing them is also a nice scene. They are centered in the middle of the shot. Matahachi we see again but his life is miserable. Three years have again passed and Takezo is now in training as well. Takezo changes his name to Musashi and is granted a position of a samurai but he must travel to train leaving Otsu and every one behind. But he was able to achieve his dream.

This being the first colored film we watched in class, it’s amazing to see the color or the costumes used in this film. The costumes are vibrant and we see they are less extravagant then the ones in the other jidaideki. Once again the swords are a very valuable prop in this film. Horses are also used a lot in this film. The first fight scene we see between Takezo and the Leader of the bandits is impressive, since he uses a wooden sword to begin with. We also see guns in this film as a prop. The relations in this film are also complicated. However, this samurai trilogy is worthwhile in watching, showing bravery, perseverance, brotherhood, and pride.

When first opening up the link to watch Miyamoto Musashi, I had not been expecting to make the leap from traditional black-and-white to more modern and vivid Technicolor. One of the most rewarding parts of this transition was being able to take in all of the mise-en-scene to the fullest, what with the ornate, colorful costumes suddenly so much more vibrant, thanks to the advancement of technology.

And not only the costumes, but the majestic landscapes as well. There are numerous wide-angle shots that capture the beautiful scenery—a establishing shot of towering mountains against the backdrop of an amber sunset, a lower-level shot of a marsh-like area in the woods, obscured by the mist, and a shot of the wide-open plains. All of these takes of such grandiose nature seem to have a dwarfing-effect, making the characters, and the audience, too, become enveloped in a larger-than-life feeling, the world that extends beyond the individual.

The storyline itself was very complex, probably much more than any of the previous films we’ve seen. With the multiple unrequited loves, sometimes love triangles and rectangles, and the dichotomy between Matahachi and Takezo, the story whisks the audience away on the men’s journey toward becoming samurai and eventually leads us down two separate paths, that which each fighter has chosen for himself. Although the film does focus more heavily on Takezo’s journey.

I particularly liked the element of Buddhist philosophies incorporated into the story, along with a deeper exploration of bushido. All the previous films have featured a character that is already established as a warrior, and their plots tend to rely on the battle aspect of being a samurai. Musashi Miyamoto, in contrast, showcases the journey toward becoming a true warrior, as seen with Takezo and the many trials he faces, including being isolated and imprisoned in a room for three years and eventually earning the name “Miyamoto Musashi” upon his rebirth.

The women in this film, too, have a little more flair to them, I thought, in that they, at some rare points, decide to take matters into their own hands, rather than be carried to and fro by the forces of fate. Otsu, in particular, demonstrates a strong will in her deciding to release Takezo from his confinement in the tree, defying the priest’s orders. And Akemi’s mother, too, is very spiteful, albeit deliberate, in the way that she lies about Takezo, framing him with a false accusation, after he rejects her declaration of love.

Miyamoto Musashi part 1 starts off with the main character, Takezo, who is later renamed Miyamoto Musashi and his friend Matahachi as they sit in a tree talking about joining in a great battle that is coming up. Takezo wants to get famous in the battle by killing someone important, thereby restoring his reputation in the village. Matahachi talks to his fiancee Otsu, but leaves despite her protests. Their side loses the battle and they end up taking refuge in a house that two women live in. After resting up for a couple of months, bandits start to bother the women. Takezo drives them off, but runs away when the mother comes on to him. Matahachi ends up traveling with the women, abandoning Otsu and his mother back at the village. Takezo returns to the village to tell Otsu and the mother that Matahachi is alive, but he kills a bunch of gate guards and becomes a wanted man. Eventually a tricky priest convinces him to turn himself in and ties him up in a tree. Otsu helps him escape and goes with him since she was going to have to stay with Matahachi's mother who is really mean. Their escape is foiled. Otsu is taken to a castle, but Takezo escapes. He tries to rescue her at the castle where he is once again found by the priest who traps him in a room and makes him read. 3 years later, he becomes a samurai of the castle and sets out to travel and train, saying goodbye to Otsu first.

The film was very good. I liked that it was in color because it enhanced the detail and made things look more beautiful, especially some of the costumes and the sunsets which wouldn't have translated very well in black and white. There were more crane shots in the film, notably the scene in the tree in the beginning and in one of the search scenes.

The women were much more outspoken and influential in this film, especially Otsu who actually frees Takezo from the tree against the will of the priest and flees the village against the will of Matahachi's mother.

Part 1 of Miyamoto Musashi displays a few different social and political issues in Japan. First was the battle between East and West, in which Takezo and Matahachi run away to, to try to become great samurais. Takezo states that he leaves the village in search of fame, becoming an outcast in his society. The class system has made them yearn for power in the upper class, coming from a rural village. In the battle, the attempt of the Japanese government to advance their military technology is noticed, as firearms are being used for fighting. In the first battle, it seemed like it was guns versus swords, modern versus traditional, with the modern side winning. When Takezo and Matahachi are talking in the tree, the issue of family duty and responsibility is brought up when Takezo says Matahachi could not join him because he needed to take care of Otsu. But ultimately, Matahachi chooses adventure and risk over love and loyalty. His dishonorable-ness is also shown through him abandoning Takezo and Otsu for the two women, and marrying one of them which he of course regrets later. The unrespected power of the government and upper authority is also depicted. The brigands coerced class difference through their treatment of the villagers. They demanded payment from the two lonely women to live where they were, even though they were poor and did not have much to give up, living off of looting the dead samurai. Takezo represented the resentment towards the government and the brigands, standing up and fighting against them. You can also tell Japanese economy was becoming more capitalist, in that one of the womens goal was to go to Kyoto, an industrialized big city, for "real business." It was also implied that Buddhism and the path to enlightenment was the answer to life problems, and was even more powerful than the government. The Buddhist priest was the only one able to apprehend Takezo, and even changes the mentality of Takezo. He tells Takezo that strong virtue and wisdom are much stronger than strength alone. The priest also persuades the police to leave Takezo in his custody.

This was the first movie in color, which added even more depth to the realism and mise-en-scene. There were a couple of shots I noticed while watching the film I saw as noteworthy. One of the first scenes, when Takezo and Matahachi are talking in the tree about joining the battle, it is a a very deep focus shot with the military marching in the background. I thought it was interesting to have them talking about joining the battle, with the military marching in the same shot. There was another interesting scene when Takezo and Matahachi first meet up to leave the village. The scene first is shooting at Takezo walking slowly towards the camera, becoming more and more visible as he gets closer. Then to close the scene, the camera is shooting both Takezo and Matahachi walking away from the camera. I just thought it was interesting to open the scene with the character walking towards the camera, then end it by having them walking away. Also of course, rain started right before the battle, symbolizing the tragedy about to start. Flashes of lightning I felt represented the tension and intensity being felt within the battle. There is also use of diegetic sounds, in this case music played by Otsu, which represented Otsu's feelings at the time and set the tone for the scene.

Miya moto Musashi was a good film. I really enjoyed how the scenes were filmed and it was also nice to see a film in color too. It was a lot easier to be able to tell what was what in each scene, particularly the ones where you see a lot of nature because when they are in black and white it all sort of blends together into an undistinguishable blob. It was also nice during the fight scenes because you could actually keep track of who was who.

One of my favorite scenes was the battle scene from the war. During the scene it was raining really hard and there was also thunder and lightning, giving everything a very heavy and hopeless sort of feeling. It really sets the tone of the action because soon all the soldiers come retreating back and running away for their lives. This adds to the tension and soon we see the diggers in the ditch scrambling to get out and run away too. When Takezo joins the battle, the camera runs along with him as he slices down opponent after opponent. This is something that I don’t think we’ve seen in any of the previous films and it was very eye-catching.

Nature was a very prevalent part of the film; a good portion of the scenes take place outside and especially away from city life. One of the opening shots is of Takezo and Matahachi sitting way up in a tree. There were also a lot of scenes that took place in the wilderness outside of the village. One thing I found kind of interesting was that they kept returning to a particular shot of the wilderness though I’m not sure if it had any significance or not. Whoever the story was focusing on (Takezo or Otsu and the priest) would walk through the trees where they were able to overlook all the men from the search party for Takezo off in the distance working their way through the clearing like lines of ants. I sort of wondered if all the nature shots were meant to be a reflection of the wildness within Takezo or were just meant to show a respect for nature in general.

The Miyamoto Musashi films all have a sort of epic grandness about them. The colors are rich and incredibly vivid, even in low light scenes and the sets and scenery or locations are beautiful. The large casts with a lot of extras and the nearly continuous soundtrack all play into this grandiose feeling.
Inagaki made excellent use of available light as well as weather conditions. For example, in the first film there is a scene of the couple speaking in a doorway with the sun setting behind them, followed by scene of the two friends running through a field at twilight toward a lush green mountain, followed by a scene of war horses running during a foggy afternoon followed by a scene of fighting in the rain. In each of these cases the weather seems to be perfect for the events that are taking place. I found the poor video quality particularly disappointing during scenes such as this, I could tell that I was seeing something beautiful, but a lot of the beauty and any fine detail was completely lost due to the poor quality.
I think that the translation for the subtitles must not be very good, it seems that a lot of the dialogue is really forced and awkward, but I don’t want to believe that’s it’s the fault of the director, because I found the rest of the films so enjoyable. One particular scene where I found this to be the case was the scene toward the beginning of the first film where the couple is riding together on horse and the woman is bullying the man to make the horse run faster.
All in all I thought this series was a lot of fun and really nice to look at.

Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi is my favorite film out of the selection we’ve seen thus far. The film being in color emphasizes contrast and distinction, allowing the viewers understanding of the film to be seen with clarity. Before taking this course, I did not have much appreciation for the simplicity of Black and White cinema. Miyamoto Musashi really made me think about how producing a film in Black and White enables the viewer to take away more depth from the film’s experience as a whole, through allowing more meaning to be taken in from elements beyond the instinctive visual sense.
Through colorization of the film, different selections from the piece became more significant to me. The scenes which really left me in awe, are the ones with Otsu and Takezo running off from the monestary where Takezo was held. I thought there was a distinct beauty that the color really enhanced. The golden yellows and pale ambers of the night contrasting to the darkness of the trees and landscape was very visually pleasing to my eye. I felt a real sense of standing there in the glow of the night, almost as if I was actively watching the two take off in front of me. The angles that were filmed really enhanced this scene, making it very visually stunning.
I thought there was a very interesting scene change earlier in the film, as Otsu and the priest are hiking in the mountains looking for Takezo beyond other villagers. After Otsu finishes playing her flute, and Takezo is realized to be in both she and the priests’ company, Otsu is about to hand Takezo a bowl of noodles and soup. As her hands are shot holding the bowl, the camera glides to the upper right, focusing on an area of gravel near the fire. Almost jerkingly, the shot is cut to where Takezo stumblingly walks toward her to grab the soup. I felt the roughness of this edit really emphasizes the aggressive, agitated energy Takezo emits.
I found this film really entertaining cinematically as well as plot wise. I thought it was highly amusing when after Takezo fends off a gang of outlaw-thieves, the mistress Matahachi and he are residing with baits him for his physicality by pleaing, ‘You’re such a man. Take me now, you make me feel like a woman.” I’d like to finish the series.

One of the first things I noticed in Musashi Miyamoto was the music and how well it fit with the cinematography. I can't really explain why, but I appreciated the music in this movie a lot more than the others, to the extent that I actually noticed the music, so something about it stood out to me. As for the cinematography, I think the most impressive scene, for me anyway, was the first fight that Takezo was in, when he and Matahashi were going up against a fairly large army of enemies. I liked how the camera followed Takezo as he moved steadily across the battlefield, it gave the effect of speed, like Takezo was so great a swordsman that he could literally run through a battlefield at almost full tilt and just cut men down as he went. I think this view of him was just the beginning, because even when he was off the battlefield, he kind of just plowed through anyone in his way, which was what got him in trouble. I think that first fight scene was a way of kick starting Takezo's image, and in the battlefield, it's a logical quality to have, but outside a battle, it's seen as the actions of a wild man.
Another thing I liked about the cinematography was how they filmed/acted out the fight scenes for the two main male characters. Takezo's, as mentioned before, were well put together, fast and precise, and gave the impression that he knew what he was doing and he did it well. Matahachi's, on the other hand, looked sloppy and careless, and it gave the impression that if Matahachi hit something or someone, it was more likely by chance than any sort of skill. I think their style of fighting reflected how the audience was to view them as characters: Takezo as the talented and good-at-heart warrior who sticks to his morals, as opposed to Matahachi, the half-assed, almost cowardly warrior who's feelings stray at the slightest opportunity.

The first part of the Miyamoto Musashi trilogy shows Musashi’s transformation from a young wild man into a responsible young adult. At the beginning of the film, Musashi only desires to acquire fame for himself. He does so with no concern as to what harm his actions may cause others. Through the intervention of the priest Takuan, Musashi gradually realizes what his place in society is. By the end of the film, Musashi embarks on a training journey to better himself in order to do a better job of serving his local lord.

Although he lived in a very chaotic time, young Musashi showed some innate morality. He interfered when bandits attempted to steal from and rape the woman who had taken him and Matahachi in after the Battle of Sekigahara. He also returned to his home village to inform Matahachi’s mother and Otsu that Matahachi still lived. He even went out of his way to avoid revealing why Matahachi did not return with him, thus helping Matahachi to save face. All these actions showed he was a decent person, contrary to his outward appearance and the claims made by those hunting him. This deep-seated morality is what allowed Takuan to take part in molding him into the young man he was about to become.

Another indication of Musashi’s character is his interaction with women. Akemi basically throws herself at Musashi, but he refuses her advances. The same happens with Akemi’s mother, Oko. Matahachi, however, tried to force himself on Akemi and later marries Oko, although he was engaged to Otsu at the time. Moreover, Matahachi makes no effort to contact Otsu and tell her what had happened. Rather, she only finds out when she receives a letter from Oko.

As far as cinematography, there were a fairly large number of scenes taking place outside at night. Some of these were a bit difficult to see in detail. Additionally, all of the backgrounds in the outdoor scenes seemed fairly two-dimensional. This gave these scenes the appearance of being more like a play rather than a film. It also served to de-emphasize the natural vistas, and thus place more emphasis on the character interactions.

The transitions are very striking in Miyamoto Musashi, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki. In some instances, such as the battle of Sekigahara in the beginning of the film, the transitions take a full second before switching camera frames from the pit to the fleeing and pursuing armies across the field. In that split-second interim, it appears as though they left the screen blank, a sign of poor editing. This happens several other times, such as when the bandits are riding towards the house of mother and daughter that take Musashi and Matahachi.

The camera angles for action scenes are tight, medium shots, the kind that focuses specifically on one-on-one or one-on-two fighting. In the times when fighting is done in a crowd, the long shot still appears to be from a standing camera instead of a crane. In fact, crane shots are used rather sparingly in the film, as it instead relies on fast paced shots as well as long shots from a standing or perhaps perched camera to convey the action. Even during the horse racing scene, Inagaki prefers bringing the characters closer to the screen, having them fill up the frame rather than separate them from the audience through a crane shot. In this way, the audience can connect more easily with the action scenes.

While much of the clothing, accessories, sets and swordplay feel as though they come from the same time period as 1600, the mise en scene feels ruined in certain parts. While the film takes into account certain interesting historical facts, such as the fact that Musashi was also known as Shinmen Takezo, the film, reflecting Eiji Yoshikawa’s novelization of the historical events surrounding Musashi’s life, tends to over-dramatize rather than stick to historical accuracy. For example, although the film starts with the battle of Sekigahara as the starting point of Musashi’s military career (or so the audience is lead to believe), according to scholars the battle of Sekigahara would have been the sixth battle Musashi had fought, although sources conflict as to whether Musashi was at Sekigahara at all. Likewise, Musashi is recorded to have left home at age 15, according to registrars dating from that period. Although this is only background information, what truly breaks the mise en scene are the bright clothes on key characters like Musashi and Matahachi. Indeed, Musashi wears bright blue clothing for much of the film, whereas he was more likely to have worn less colorful, drab clothing as a traveler.

Miyamoto Musashi
I had read the full length novel by Eiji Yoshikawa by the same name in my early years at high school, so it was a really curious experience for me to watch the first of the three Miyamoto Musashi films made in 1954 by Hiroshi Inagaki. I was first struck by the color of the martial progression in the very first scene. The greens of the foliage, the browns of the tree bark and dirt all lent a very different atmosphere to the scenes in this film than in the black and white productions we have been viewing so far. It was interesting to watch Takezo and Matahachi being introduced to us from their vantage point in the tree. The composition of these first shots, in combination with the dialogue and body language, helped to establish the manliness of Takezo, especially in contrast to Matahachi’s subordinate position.
In this flim I noticed many shots and scenes that were very dark, composition wise. Towards the beginning of the film, the scene where Takezo and Matahachi are digging ditches for the battle of Sekigahara, many of the scenes of battle, as well as the scenes where Takezo and Matahachi are fleeing and taking asylum with the mother and daughter were very dark compositionally. While this style made sense for the battle of Sekigahara, It was uncomfortable in some of the other scenes which were during the daytime and such. I am still planning on watching the second and third films, to continue to enjoy the story. I particularly remember the scene in the novel where a monk sits Musashi down, and draws a circle around him, and it causes Musashi to have something of an epiphany. It is interesting to note the veneration afforded to the masculine figure of Musashi as a hero in a heroic epic.

Miyamoto Musashi (part I) is about the transformation of Takezo to the legendary Miyamoto Musashi. In the opening scenes we can see Takezo’s and Matahachi’s lust for battle, as they want to join the soldiers marching through their village. They do, and soon they are in the heat of battle, but on the losing side. After the fight Matahachi is gravely injured, and Takezo helps them both find somewhere to rest. They eventually come upon a house owned by a mother and a daughter, who nurse them both back to health. Two months after Takezo and Matahachi were taken in, some brigands came to “collect” money from the two women. Takezo defends them with a bokken, and the brigands leave for a while. The mother throws herself on Takezo but he refuses her (and the daughter had tired the same earlier, earning the same treatment from Takezo). Takezo runs away from the house. Matahachi stays with the women and follows them to Kyoto. Takezo returns to the village to tell Matahachi’s mother that Matahachi is still alive. He honorably tells her but refuses to say what Matahachi is up to at the moment, even when his fiancé (Otsu) inquires as to his whereabouts. Even though Takezo did this admirable deed for Matahachi’s relatives, the mother sets him up for capture. Takezo gets away and hides in the woods. A local priest heads into the woods to find Takezo and capture him. After he successfully persuaded Takezo to return to the town with him, he hangs him from a tree. The other party looking for Takezo request custody, but the priest denies them. Takezo is left to hang for an unknown length of time and begins to realize that he is too headstrong. Otsu helps Takezo down and they run away from town together. They are eventually caught up to and Otsu is captured. Takezo goes to look for her in a nearby castle and he finds the priest there. The priest leads him into a room and locks him there with a bunch of books. Otsu is safe and outside the castle and decides to wait for Takezo to be released. Because of Takezo’s great martial skill, he is trained to be a samurai, and given the name Miyamoto Musashi before he goes on his travels.

The music in this movie helped make it feel deeper and more epic. They had beautiful scores running throughout the whole thing prettymuch. There were some interesting special effects used in the movie, specifically the thunder during the battle scene. I don’t think I have noticed any special effects prior to that thunder and flash, and it is nice to see some more technical aspects of film evolving as we get further along in class. There were a lot of medium and close shots, at least when the main characters were the focus.

Just like we talked about in class, Miyamoto Musashi Pt.1 was made to show how Mushashi was at one time as violent and hotheaded as some people asserted, but through discipline and philosophy he was able to control his raging heart, just like he was able to control that wild horse.

As the first film we have seen in colour this semester, Miyamoto Musashi came off as striking, almost jarring in its beautiful display of varying shades other than black, grey, and white. The introduction of colour for me instantly brought the perceived time period forward nearly 100 years. It seems that Inagaki monopolized on this new element and enjoyed lingering on fantastic views of nature and the scenery in the background, adding in clips that didn’t have much to do with the story in order to maximize the visual treat of watching.

Right in the beginning of the film, the cinematography caught my eye. They way in which he filmed stood out as being related more to modern, perhaps Hollywood techniques than the former jidaigeki, black and white things we have seen so far. It begins with many high angle shots looking over the army as it marches down country roads, and finally zooms its way up a huge tree where we see the first focus on any specific people of the film. Then it quickly cuts to a closer shot of the two wedged against the branches. The crane shot here was smooth and natural, but looked rather fancy in comparison to the usual still shot. From the way that so many people were shown right at the beginning and only two were singled out, it makes it clear that those are going to be the main characters upon which focus is placed.

Inagaki seems to have liked arranging his mise-en-scene for the film in a particular way, emphasizing that it really is moving art, not just some story played out on the screen. One of the first scenes that struck me for this quality was of Takezo’s friend asking Otsu if she would be willing to wait for him were he to leave for an extended period of time. They are framed in between two walls with a sunset and mountain in the background, providing the small amount of light to the scene. It seemed that this occurred in many cases, that a large part of the screen would be filled with darkness and black colours while a small portion, usually some beautiful landscape, was accentuated by its brightness and colour in the background.

I really enjoyed this film, and am hoping to see the other ones over Spring Break!

Miyamoto Musashi (1954)
It was quite astonishing to see a film in color. The crane shot in the beginning of the film also struck me. By these points, the techniques used for this film is much advanced than the films we have watched in class.
Miyamoto Musashi was directed by Hiroshi Inagaki in 1954. The plots were based on novel same title written by Eiji Yoshikawa. Takezo, Musashi’s name in beginning of the film, and his childhood friend Matahachi are interested in Shusse. Takezo decided to go to Battle of Sekigahara for fame and asks Matahachi to go with him. Matahachi could not answer immediately because he is not alone like Takezo but Matahachi eventually follows him. The side two joined loses the battle and two run away from remnant hunters. Takezo and Matahachi find a house where Oko and Akemi live. Takezo and Matahachi stay there for two months but when raid come the situation changes. Oko and Akemi abandons house with Matahachi leaving Takezo. Takezo goes back to village and tells Matahachi’s mother Osugi, or Baba (old lady), that Matahachi is still alive. The priest Takuan Soho captures Takezo and hangs him on tree branch. He escapes once with help of Otsu but he again gets captured. This time, he is trapped in the study room inside the Himeji castle. Three years later he has master the books and take journey for training. This is part one.
Musashi seems wild at the beginning; he is ambitious to earn fame and rides horse wildly. However, he has potential of Samurai, rejecting female. Musashi and Matahachi are completely opposite characters; Musashi is wild but he refuses women, Matahachi is quiet and kind but easily stimulated. When he got out from the castle, he was very changed. He is polite and his outfits became very formal. Matahachi was doing almost nothing while Musashi was in castle. It seems film is insisting the way of samurai to the audience.
Miyamoto Musashi had the noticeable visual aspects. One of the techniques I got surprised was the thunder and the birds in sky. It was not real, it seemed like animation added on the film. Besides the animation, when raid attacked Oko’s house at night, it was dark and color did not established the scene much. But when Takuan and Otsu were waiting for Musashi to come eat at night in the mountain, color was well establishing the scene. In this scene, Musashi appears completely in black and could not see his feature other than silhouette, but then, as he gets closer to Takuan and Otsu, we could see him and black parts turn slightly to blue color. It changed the atmosphere of the scene.
For part 2, Musashi is on journey. He meets Sasaki Kojiro, Jotaro and Yoshioka people. As I remember from the novel, Jotaro’s mask should be the Noh mask, not the Hannya mask. However in the film, he does not carry it later. Musashi fights with Shishido Baiken, the master of chain. From this fight, Jotaro follows him. Yoshioka Seijuro is approaching Akemi, but Akemi’s feeling is toward Musashi. Musashi visits Yoshioka Dojo and kills couple of their pupils. Yoshioka people decide to induce Musashi to fight.
The last fight scene was astonishing. The fight started at night; the scene was dark but their swords shine reflecting the moonlight. Then the fight prolonged and the scene got brighter; Musashi had beaten Yoshioka pupils and finally fights with Yoshioka Seijuro. Sun rose completely and two are lit perfectly. Also, Akemi’s dance scene was very beautiful; it well established the use of color.

I thought Miyamoto Musashi was great if only that it wasn't black and white. The color was greatly utilized to add depth to a seemingly straight-forward shot setups. As I think about the movie, too, it seems to have more in kin with the American Western genre than anything else. The epic soundtrack, the wide open shots, the brotherhood of two individuals. There is a sense of the world beyond Japan in Miyamoto Musashi.

Made in 1954 by Hiroshi Inagaki, Miyamoto was the first in a three part series. . It is only the beginning, but an interesting take nonetheless at the formation of strong characters. Takezo is especially interesting for his expressive, wild masculinity. He is there in the beginning on the horse, wooing the village girl Otsu with his apparently sexual riding. She says she likes it rough, but he pushes her aside as if her sexuality were a temptation, a frivolous expectation of hers. Her wily ways are nothing new to the jidaigeki; women are often the litmus test of the men around them. But, as the movie moves on, we see Otsu and Takezo take on whole new roles.

Buddhism, in the form of the wise monk, balances the lives of Takezo and Otsu. On screen, this transformation becomes literal as the monk hangs Takezo from a tree. A single rope connects Takezo to the tree, a single line connects this outcast to reality. He struggles and screams and starves, yet nothing will come of it: Takezo is stuck where he is by a rope out of his control. The monk hopes Takezo will realizes this and put his will to good use; however, Otsu subverts this plan through her love. She runs away with Takezo, showing her devotion in place of frivolous sexuality. Her character gains meaning in her love, and Takezo becomes more a man than viewers could’ve expected when he denies her love at the end.

Miyamoto Musashi is all about color, adding shadows to already complex shots to more fully display the color. In this way we can think of it as a departure from the standard jidaigeki: Takezo is masculine, but he must refine himself, whereas Otsu is not just a woman but a human in love as well. Time are a’changin’.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Anderson published on March 9, 2010 7:02 PM.

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