The Twilight Samurai
Directed by Yoji Yamada, at FACT till May 20th
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
The Twilight Samurai is a slow thoughtful Japanese film, directed by Yoji Yamada, and unlike two recent releases regarding the life of a Samurai warrior, 'Zatoicha' and 'The Last Samurai', contains very little sword play, or little other action in general.
Instead it focuses upon the simple story of a man, Seibei (Hiroyoki Sanada). struggling to bring up his family in a rural village. He subsists on a low income, with which he has to support his sick wife (who later dies), two young children, one of whom, when she is an adult, is the narrator in the film, and a senile mother.
Although trained as a samurai when he was younger, he has not been involved
in fighting for many years.
Instead of using a sword in the duel Seibei uses a wooden stick, but still wins the fight when he knocks unconscious his opponent with a blow to the head.
His fighting skills are brought to the attention of his clan leaders,
who threaten Seibie with exile and certain destitution, if he refuses
their command to kill an enemy of the clan.
Although meditative and often low-key, The Twilight Samurai is warm on the eye, and is full of meaningful and philosophical dialogue. Yomade deserves credit for making such a film.