4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a tale of troubled times,
This review is from: Humanity & Paper Balloons [DVD] (DVD)
This film was made in 1937 though its subject-matter concerns an earlier troubled era, a hundred years or so before, when the ediface of the Tokugawa state was crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions and inertia. The film is a period drama, in one sense, but is interested in things other than sword play (that would be too flashy). The story revolves around three characters: a hair dresser-turned-gambling organiser taking on the local gangster boss; a penniless ronin samurai trying to gain an interview with the big-wig his father once helped to prosperity; and a young woman trying to avoid a marriage she does not favour because she is in love with her father's employee. Yamanaka weaves these lives together with great delicacy and naturalness. His cinemagraphic eye is remarkably clear, and the sincerity of his belief in the human struggles observed invests the film with surprising power. It is an old film - though a good print and transfer for its age. But nothing can dull its brilliance. I came to this film knowing nothing much about it, but it won me completely. Give it a try.