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Ichimei (2011)

Ichimei (2011)

Kôji YakushoMunetaka AokiNaoto TakenakaHikari Mitsushima
Takashi Miike


Ichimei (2011) is a Japanese movie. Takashi Miike has directed this movie. Kôji Yakusho,Munetaka Aoki,Naoto Takenaka,Hikari Mitsushima are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2011. Ichimei (2011) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

A tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

Ichimei (2011) Reviews

  • On the deficiencies of wooden swords


    Takashi Miike's second straight tribute to the samurai genre is a well-crafted and finely honed object. It's more consistent than Miike's previous samurai film, 13 Assassins, although that also means it lacks anything as great as that film's final battle. But what sets Hara-Kiri apart is its willingness to not just offer a pastiche of these films but genuinely question their values in a way that is still challenging to the contemporary viewer. Through a series of events told partially in flashbacks, Hara-Kiri poses the question of how relevant our values are -- whether they be highly codified values like honour or the more nebulous instincts that guide us today -- in the face of human suffering. The ronin that we see humiliated and killed in the first act is not guilty of breaking some arcane samurai bylaw but of doing something most of us would find disgraceful. But as the film goes on it argues that we should hold compassion even for people such as this, and that honour is ultimately irrelevant in the face of social suffering. In an age of recession and austerity, where so many try to cling to their ideas of what they or other people "deserve", this is an important message. It's an easy film to appreciate and a difficult one to love -- there's a kind of coldness to this set of Miike's movies that seems out of place with the gonzo enthusiasm of his earlier work. And doubtlessly it will be too slow and cerebral for some. But its critique of not just a canonized genre but the way in which we view ethics makes it well worth seeing.

  • A Unique Take on the Samurai Vendetta Genre


    A samurai film set in the first generation after the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate -- when the samurai were beginning to perceive the bitter reality that unity and peace were the death knell of much of their usefulness as a caste -- Hara-Kiri centers around a story of disgrace and revenge, but its take on this subject matter is unique, and it is one of the very few samurai films that actually reaches the point of questioning the ethos of "warrior's honour." It is not an action film, for the most part; although its climactic act does feature a fascinating one-against-many throwdown, it isn't there to provide gore and death. This is a film that revolves around story, characters and ideas. The basic premise: with many samurai penniless and out of work under the Shogunate -- which has become vindictive about eliminating all possible threats to its power and has shut down whole domains -- a uniquely samurai kind of con artistry has sprung up, called the "suicide bluff," in which a ronin shows up at a well-appointed lordly estate, begs the use of the courtyard to commit seppuku, and thereby hopes to win the lord's sympathy and to be offered some money or a position in his retinue instead. The film begins with one such story set at the House of Ii; the senior retainer, set to hear a suicide request from a penniless ronin, eyes him skeptically and then tells him (in flashback form) the story of another such ronin who came by attempting a suicide bluff just a short while earlier. The story of that young man, who shows up looking skinny, timorous and pathetic to make his request, is the story of an unsuspecting rube badly miscalculating the seriousness of the House of Ii's commitment to the samurai ideal, notwithstanding that most of its younger warriors have never seen combat. When the retainers of Ii discover that the young ronin has brought only a bamboo practice sword with him, they decide in rage to call his transparent bluff, summoning out the whole house to witness his suicide and sternly demanding that he go through with it... using only that same bamboo sword. The youth's panic and seeming cowardice seem contemptible at first... but there is something just as twisted about the retainers' contempt when they discover he was just trying to get money to buy medicine for a sick wife and child. Finally, seeing that there's no way out, he does contrive to commit seppuku with the bamboo sword, in a scene of surpassing drawn-out agony and horror that will stay with you for days. (His "second," assigned to behead him, seems in particular to almost relish the young man's suffering, refusing to end it until he's twisted the bamboo blade in his guts to the man's satisfaction.) Back to the present, and the senior retainer of Ii offering this latest ronin the chance to leave with no questions asked. And that's when we discover that the two ronins' stories are connected... and that there's a larger objective of retribution in the newcomer's actions. The drama that follows -- which affords us a chance to see the two ronin in an entirely different light, to discover their relationship and what brought them to their desperate pass, and to question whether the suppression of humaneness and empathy in the samurai code of conduct really just isn't a form of empty madness -- is deliberately-paced, intricately structured, and moving. It is well worth seeing, and indeed quite probably the best Japanese drama to be produced so far this century.

  • Unnecessary, but comes with a few slices of power


    Let's get this out of the way. Kobayashi's hard hitting "Harakiri" is a masterpiece. It's one of the great pieces of not only Japanese cinema, but also one of the best movies of the 20th century. While I'm disappointed the film was remade at all, and surprised it came from Miike, there are still good things to be found here. To my surprise, for the most part, this is a good movie and in very small quantities, there are some true moments of greatness. Even if they are very short. A good deal of the original film's grit is lost for most of this go around. The cinematography is over-lit and the pacing falls into lulls. But survive to the end and you will be rewarded as the final irony is quite powerful. I mean, no spoilers from me, but even with the cheesy fake snow, I have to say, Ebizô Ichikawa's powerful presence won me over and he truly wins the day when the time calls for it. I was never too crazy about all the Kurosawa remakes of the 60s and 70s. Fistful of Dollars always felt like a cheap knock-off, because it is. The Magnificent Seven was sort of a tolerable chuckle. Kurosawa's films were so human, almost populist, because of their themes, his work was ripe for remake, reboot or even plagiarism. Only Star Wars seemed to get the joke and succeed in being something different than a pure Hidden Fortress copy. Kobayashi's Harakiri seemed to escape the trend for so long because of the subject matter - even the title! But here we are. There is still something not right about this "remake," but MIike gets it right in the end, even if never needed to be done in the first place.

  • How The Mighty Have Fallen


    Where does mercy fit in with the esprit de corps of a warrior class? Can there be honor without it? These are interesting questions raised in director Takashi Miike's poignant remake of the 1962 classic "Harakiri". This film may not satisfy the audience for slashing, body-count samurai movies because the emphasis is on mood and character but there are a number of things to recommend this film. "Hara-Kiri:Death of a Samurai" is beautifully photographed by Nobuyasu Kita and has laudable performances. Ebizo Ichikawa is Hanshiro a samurai with a young daughter of marriageable age. Hanshiro has adjusted to living in a time of peace. He isn't a wealthy man but seems happy and content making a living doing the odd job here and there. Ichikawa is wonderful in this role giving great weight and humanity to the character. He is a memorable samurai. Eita is Motome a young samurai who hasn't adjusted as well. He has been unable to find employment and so enters the house of a great lord asking for permission to commit harakiri in the courtyard and thus achieve an honorable death. Hikari Mitsushima is very affecting as Hanshiro's daughter, Miho. When I approached the theater showing this film I noticed someone walking away with teary eyes. I can't recall the last time that happened but after seeing "Hara-Kiri:Death of a Samurai" I understood why someone would be so moved.

  • In this one, Miike doesn't stand up against Kobayashi

    Chris Knipp2015-06-25

    Anyone with a more than passing interest in Japanese movies ought to watch Kobayashi's 1962 version of Takaiguchi's novel that this also is based on, and watch the intro by the Japanese film authority Donald Ritchie on the Criterion edition. Ritchie makes fully clear how Kobayashi here, as in other films, is talking through the historical tale about current issues he was passionate about, in this case lingering post-WWII authoritarianism in Japan and hollow bureaucracies, in his day as in the time of the early Tokugawa government; Miike doesn't seem to have anything particularly urgent to say. Look at what Ritchie points out that Kobayashi's version offers: the script by ace screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto who wrote Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai; the score by bold, influential experimentalist Toru Takemitsu; the strong and unifying symbolic use of empty samurai armor throughout; the career-defining lead performance by Tatsuya Nakadai; and the elegantly austere use of black and white cinematography. Ironically Miike's film also carries over Kobayashi's one serious flaw - - an overindulgence in sentimentality and pathos in the flashback love story. Miike, apparently seeking 'respectability' after all his entertaining ultra-violence with this staid remake/adaptation, also overdoes everything. He makes every scene too drawn-out and talky. He further overdoes the sentimentality, to the point that in his version becomes unbearably cloying, virtually unwatchable. Once again, 3D adds nothing; black and white was just what was needed. Less was and is more. Whenever a filmmaker goes over familiar ground, adapting a book that has been adapted (and very well) before, he exposes himself to comparisons to the book and to the previous adaptation. Don't get me wrong. Miike has plenty of skill. It is not that his 'Hara- Kiri' is a washout. It's just that Kobayashi's version is a true work of art, a film classic, in fact; and in comparison Miike's is merely a competent effort and a pointless bid for respectability that was not needed. He is a master in his own realm. Surprisingly his last film before this, the juicy, action-historical blockbuster 13 Assassins, which I thoroughly enjoyed, also was an adaptation -- of Eiichi Kudo's little known samurai film of the same name. Thanks to 'Wildgrounds' (who compare the two Hara- Kiri films) for this info. Thanks also to Ben Parker on 'CapitalNewYork' for his detailed comparison of the two films; and to the Criterion Collection, for its print of Kobayashi's 'Hara-Kiri' and Donald Ritchie's informed introduction to it.


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