Chambara

How much do I love Japanese cinema?  Don’t get me started.   When I lived in Los Angeles, the only person who went to more screenings of the American Cinemateque’s Japanese Outlaw Masters Series was Quentin Tarantino.  I’m not entirely sure he didn’t set up camp in the parking lot, calling out for delivery so he didn’t have to miss any of the yakuza-psychedelic-bushido bounty.

Maybe that’s a little hyperbolic, but whatever.  Anyhow, I’m working hard at re-watching as much of the samurai canon as possible in advance of finalizing our DVD orders, and I realize that somehow I haven’t seen everything.  How could that be?  Actually, I’m relieved that there are still treasures to be discovered.  And the ones I’m revisiting?  I still love my favorites and can happily find new details over which to obsess.

I’m sure my colleagues will have plenty to say about cinema and our film series, so I won’t belabor the point.  Suffice to say, I could tell how hard it was to keep it to the essentials–by all means read about it here.

But I just have to mention one I hadn’t seen in years.  It stars the dreamy Nakadai Tatsuya and it’s called Kill! What more do you need?  The 1968 chambara showcases a nice Spaghetti Western-slapstick styling that doesn’t detract from the action sequences, but there’s also a sneaky underlying notion that the life of a samurai is less than ideal.  Perish the thought…

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