18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Would I have been better off knowing nothing?" asks Shinnojo Mimura, a young samurai, now blind
Love and Honor (Bushi no Ichibun) is the last in director Yoji Samada's great trilogy of movies about a dying class and the ordinary people caught up in the changes. These three films are not tragedies, but somber stories of rigid, unfair class structures enforced by ferocious standards of loyalty, obligation and obedience. Now, at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate,...
Published on 4 Feb 2009 by C. O. DeRiemer
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing follow up.
I loved Yoji Yamada's 'Twilight Samurai' and 'The Hidden Blade' but this third effort in his Samurai trilogy, for me was a poor follow up.
The often predictable story follows that of a low ranking Samurai named `Kimura', who after a freak accident as a food taster for the head of his clan loses his sight. Facing financial hardship his wife seeks the help of the...
Published on 14 Nov 2009 by Ernie
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Would I have been better off knowing nothing?" asks Shinnojo Mimura, a young samurai, now blind,
This review is from: Love & Honor [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)Love and Honor (Bushi no Ichibun) is the last in director Yoji Samada's great trilogy of movies about a dying class and the ordinary people caught up in the changes. These three films are not tragedies, but somber stories of rigid, unfair class structures enforced by ferocious standards of loyalty, obligation and obedience. Now, at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, Japanese society for those at the top is crumbing. The samurai are warriors who have had no wars to fight for generations; those unwilling or unable to adapt will become irrelevant. The farmers remain important because they produce food. The artisans are important because they produce products. The merchants are the bottom caste because they apparently produce nothing. Of course, they dirty their hands with commerce and, thus, produce wealth. They will come to rule Japan. More and more samurai are leaving their caste to become merchants.
For now, however, the samurai class in its increasing irrelevance is increasingly parasitic. Samurai ideals of honor and obligation are stained by opportunism, venality and self-interest. Honor remains for many, but it can be hard for those, even samurai, who must try to live their lives in an unfair world.
Shinnojo Mimura (Takuya Kimura) is a young, lower-caste samurai who earns a modest stipend as a food taster for his clan lord. He and his wife, Kayo (Rei Dan) are happy and in love. He has prospects to be an expert swordsman. He hopes to start his own school. Then he tastes some shellfish and becomes seriously ill. He survives but is blind. He may very well lose his stipend, his house and the ability to support his mother and relatives. They plead with Kayo to go to clan captain Shimada and beg for help. When Shimada suggests that he would be wiling to help her husband in exchange for her intimate favors, her world and her love for her husband are placed at great risk. Her husband's mother and family, anxious about maintaining their own status, urges upon Kayo a sacrifice of Kayo's honor. Kayo, like her husband and all the protagonists in Yamada's other two films, have limited options. When her blind husband realizes that their relationship is subtly changing, he is resolved to secure her honor and his own...a blind samurai dueling with an experienced senior officer.
Perhaps it's enough to say that this film, so filled with autumnal somberness, ends on a note of spring. I liked it a lot. Serious films do not always require a sad finish.
Yoji Yamada's trilogy, all based on stories by Shuhei Fujisawa, are The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) (2002), The Hidden Blade (Kakushi Ken Oni no Tsume) (2004) and Love and Honor (Bushi no Ichibun) (2006). They can be watched in any order. The movie is beautifully photographed and the DVD transfer is first rate. There are no extras.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Honor,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)This film is on the same par as The Twilight Samurai. Without giving too much of the plot and sub plots away: I found this to be a very enjoyable film, This is not a Macho Man type of film. This film manages to provoke emotional responses. A good film to watch both alone and with a loved one (provided you don't mind subtitles or can speak Japanese). Set seemingly towards the end of the Japanese Fuedal system, this as the title states, is a film of love and honor. Whilest performing menial duties for the local Damio, Shinnojo is caused to go blind: Thus leaving him unemployable and left to be tended by his loving wife Kayo and his servant. Under the instruction from Shinnojo's family, Kayo is implored to seek help from anyone she might know the castle. Shinnojo becomes suspicious of her behavior, the plots continue from there, ending in a fight of a blind man against a man with no honor. The fight is very convincing and better than Zatoichi (Wich I like). I will watch this film periodicaly. My verdict 8.5 from 10 - enjoy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every Samurai movie fan,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)This film, directed by Yoji Yamada, is not the typical martial arts action movie. It is more a wonderful story that wants to show you that there is always something worth fighting for.
The main character Shinnojo played by Kimura Takuya, is a young Samurai who works as a food taster at the court of his lord. But his dream is to have his own dojo and teach anyone Kendo, no matter what social rank they are, even the son of his servant Tokuhei.
Kayo, Shinnojo's wife, encourages him to follow his dream even if that means that both have to leave their secure life in the castle behind them. But as life continues, this dream fades away after Shinnojo tastes sashimi (which is made from shell fish) at the court. The fish was badly prepared which means it is poisonous and after a three day coma due to heavy fever, caused by the poison, he wakes up to find that he can no longer see.
And here the problems start. How can a blind Samurai serve his lord? How much is his life now worth since he can't fight anymore? Everyone feels pity for him, which adds to Shinnojo's frustration as he gets angrier with himself, and everyone around him.
Kayo, meanwhile, meets Toya Shimada, the chief duty officer of the castle, who offers her to help and invites her to come to his house whenever she is ready. After a meeting with Shinnojos family, Kayo is asked to accept Shimada's offer to help. Kayo ends up being sexually abused by him, but instead of keeping away in future, she continues to meet him several times.
Shinnojo suspects that there is something going on with his wife and orders his servant Tokuhei to follow her and find out why she stays out so long. Tokuhei discovers her meeting with a high ranking person in a dubious location but he can't tell his master, so instead informs Kayo that he had followed her. Kayo then tells her husband everything.
Shinnojo divorces her after she tries to explain that she did it for him and that it is his decision to take her life here and now. But he just sends her away. After this he finds out that Shimada didn't speak up for him at the court but that it was the Lord's decision to keep up the rice portion as an acknowledgement for his service.
Shinnojo is furious and wants to avenge his wife and let Shimada pay for his dishonourable act. So he meets up with his old Kendo master and learns how to fight blind. After he has renewed his sword fighting skills he challenges Shimada to a duel.
But I won't tell you how its ends because it is up to you to find out!
Love and Honour is a delightful film that gives you a beautiful insight of the life of a Samurai in feudal Japan. It has its funny moments, is sad from time to time but never boring. The real gem is Shinnojo's servant Tokuhei. He is my favourite character because of his interpersonal skills. He deals well with the changing mood of his master, is funny but also sensible when he has to be. A character you quite quickly fall in love with.
This movie is something you should have in your collection if you are a lover of Samurai stories. Its 121 minutes will tell you a stunning story with great characters and accurate costumes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Film,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)This film is a slow, simple, period piece, that captures Japanese life enough for us to get a feel.
Superb, because its evocative, moody and very atmospheric.
One sword fight scene in the entire film but well done.
Watch it with your wife, if she doesn't mind subs.
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)A beautiful love story, sensitive and beautifully shot. Sorry about the late review I wanted to watch during the holiday season and this was my first chance. If you are wanting blood and guts this isnt the movie for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant samurai film,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)I don't like writing reviews so I'm not. I'll jus say that I really enjoyed this film so if you like samurai movies then add this to your collection.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deft blade strokes of love,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)Set in the Edo period of feudal Japan,a time of peace, Fujisawa's fiction shows the Samurai's code struggling to find a place within the emerging political structure.Shinnojo Mimura(Takiya Kimura) is a lowly Samurai food taster for a clan Lord.And his job is to stop poison food getting through by tasting it before it's served.He lives with a loving wife Kayo(Rei Dan) and loyal servant in a hand to mouth existence. Respect is more valuable than riches and love can cut more truly than a sword.Shinnojo dreams of teaching children sword-fighting but his ambition is sacrificed to earn a crust and he is frustrated by his lowly status within castle ranks.After tasting off-season shellfish(sashimi) he becomes blind after 3 days of unconsciousness.He does not want to upset his wife by telling her but when she finds out she says she wants to care for him.Similarly when she finds how permanent the doctor tells her the blindness is she does not want to worry him. They show their true love.There are some truths it's better for us not to confront.
He is suicidally depressed wanting to end his life.Not doing so when Kayo says she'd have to die too if he did.She gets Tokwhei(Takeshi Sasamo) the servant to hide Shinnojo's sword. His family are cold,gathering to decide what to do.They push Kayo into seeking out the Chief Duty Officer, Shimada, who expressed sympathy for her plight. Kayo finds a way to survive,helping Shinnojo to keep status, income and house.Shimada does this in return for favours of a sexual nature.A blind Samurai has no place in a class-ridden society.Shinnojo struggles to keep a sense of honour.He grows suspicious of Kayo as she hides her secret liaisons, driven by love to do anything. Shinnojo sends Tokwhei to follow her and report back to him,after hearing rumours spread by a busybody aunt.The film is then about the need to restore honour after he throws Kayo out and divorces her.One of the 2 caged birds dies and is buried by Tokwhei.Finding out the truth from castle retainers that it was the clan Lord's decision to award him a life pension following his loss of livelihood, Shimada had nothing to do with the decision, Shinnojo realizes the betrayal and rape of his wife.
He picks up a blade again,practising his moves with a trainer, and as in other films from the trilogy there is a climactic duel.The true duel is between honour(rigidly codified society) and love shown to be a much stronger force.Yamada shows it's love that truly defines everyone transcending rank or class. The film is a fitting end to a truly moving(feelings not theatrics) trilogy. Cinematography of interiors and landscapes excellent with autumnal colouration, superb clarity of image and compostion.The acting first-class with two new young actors(Kimura from the world of pop) and good minor roles with a good use of humour and musical soundtrack.Nice period detail.There is a hint of Ozu in the settings and framing. Best of all the sensitivity of the actors to each other created a real sense of ensemble dynamics.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing follow up.,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)I loved Yoji Yamada's 'Twilight Samurai' and 'The Hidden Blade' but this third effort in his Samurai trilogy, for me was a poor follow up.
The often predictable story follows that of a low ranking Samurai named `Kimura', who after a freak accident as a food taster for the head of his clan loses his sight. Facing financial hardship his wife seeks the help of the clans' head of security, who then takes advantage of Kimura's pretty wife who he has admired since she was a schoolgirl. Kimura, not only having to deal with his newly inflicted disability now has to deal with the infidelity of his wife and plans revenge on the man who brought shame to his family.
While the acting and direction is universally good, the story is just too predictable, formula driven and nothing that hasn't been done before. If you're looking for a good Japanese period drama with bags of depth and an involving storyline then check out Yamada's previous films 'Twilight Samurai' and 'The Hidden Blade' and Yojiro Takita's superb `When The Last Sword Is Drawn' which is easily one of the best Japanese films of the last decade.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japan movies,
This review is from: Love And Honor [DVD]  (DVD)I love the Honour Trilogy: TWILIGHT SAMURAI
HIDDEN BLADE AND THIS LAST ONE MOVIE are incredibly moving but no pathetic, simple, but no badly done. Somber and elegant.
Good cinema. The actors are perfectly suit to their roles, I loved best TWILIGHT SAMURAI.
The screenplay foucuse on honour and respet about women, and ancient samurai values, in a world wich is changing on account of West.
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Love And Honor [DVD]  by Yôji Yamada (DVD - 2009)