Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 #66: Sanjuro (1962)

Being the super cool person I am, I often hang out at GenX when I'm not actually working. It takes a special kind of person to take that work relationship to the next level, one of happy obsession and geeknerdery.

I was joyously surprised during one of these hang out sessions a few weeks ago, when Chris asked if I had seen Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro. I said no, but that I intended to eventually, and he expressed his confusion: "Why would someone not watch the acclaimed sequel to one of their favourite films (Yojimbo)?"

"OH JOY OF JOYS!!" I must have thought as my brain exploded with excitement. How had I not known this before? Yojimbo has a sequel??

I immediately set out to fix this grievous wrong, and boy am I glad I did.

There is something about ToshirĂ´ Mifune that makes me really happy. I love his old rundown robes, the way he scratches his scruffy beard, and his swaggering confidence in sword fights. His character in Yojimbo and Sanjuro is a wandering ronin who lightheartedly and sometimes drunkenly aids those he comes across. In Sanjuro, it happens to be a group of samurai who, after doubting their Chamberlain, must rescue him from the corrupt men attempting to overthrow him. Though Mifune's character might seem rough around the edges, his honour is still in tact, and it's the combination of his coarseness and heroism that make him so interesting. As many of Kurosawa's films seem to be, this one is not only rife with beautiful cinematography, but also kick ass fights and some great comedic moments.

As a whole, I would recommend Sanjuro a thousand times. And I've decided to pursue every film that Mifune made with Kurosawa, so you'll hopefully see the fruits of that obsession as the year goes on.

To go: 262 days, 300 films.

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