For many years I delayed getting a copy of this seminal film. Well good things come to those who wait. It is fabulous and unique and clearly as an early Kurosawa film displays the vision for camera angles, humour and seriousness of his palette.
Mifuno is superb and plays his role of the bandit chief to the hilt. he reprises aspects of this caracter more than you would think for Seven Samurai, a very different film
The film combines two Japanese short stories by Akutagawa, but you can read it in the extended booklet on this inside, this edition gives you the "in the grove" story itself. The other story about the Rashomon gate was so heavily adapted so does not bear inclusion here, although it is a good one in its own right.
The graphic ending says all there is to be said about killing. men come out of this film badly, women are no better. men are weak and driven by emotions, women are stronger and more intelligent but capable of more deliberate and vengeful cruelty.
I am slowly getting hold of all Kurosawa's film. Each is a revelation. This is a short film and easily demonstrates how the great man began