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on 4 May 2015
Firstly I'd like to say that I found the quality of the transfer amazingly well restored. Eureka have done a wonderful job here. Just so you have an idea of how good this transfer is, go to the 'extras' menu and select original trailer. Watch this then view the movie and you'll immediately observe the differences.

The interview in the extras menu didn't capture my attention as the interviewer appeared to talk non stop while the director grunted occasionally and basked blissfully in all the gushing compliments from the journalist.

The story is heartbreaking and left me reflecting on our own 21century, western harikiri called suicide. No doubt the the reasons that drove individuals to perform ritual harikiri in 17th C Japan are not totally dissimilar to 21st C folks perhaps.

Lastly, it raised the question of how we deal with those, for whatever reasons, who are unable to make their way independently in life anymore. Do we turn them away or offer a helping hand.
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on 3 July 2017
Sublime
I was introduced to Kobayashi with The Human Condition and absolutely loved it. Having been a lover of Japanese cinema I was shocked by my ignorance of this great director. Harakiri is a masterpiece and a joy to watch from the very first frame to the last. I kept thinking throughout the film whether I have ever seen a better black and white cinematography. The sets are designed to perfection. It made me laugh when Kobayashi mentions the "roofs" in the interview. What a discovery!
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on 14 June 2017
A stone cold classic that easily rivals even the most iconic works of Kurosawa.
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on 11 October 2011
Harakiri (or seppuku) is the ancient samurai act of redeeming lost honour by committing suicide through disembowelment. In this masterful 1962 film, set in Japan in 1630, a ronin enters the house of a powerful clan and requests to commit suicide through harakiri. The leader of the clan is reluctant to permit this as he has been recently deceived by another ronin, who was trying to obtain charity from the house through this way. This ronin, however, is permitted to tell the house the story of how he came to be in such a situation, and a fantastic, surprising, and often very dark story is told. The main character, Hanshiro Tsugmo, is played by Tatsuya Nakadai (who'd appeared in Akira Kurosawa's classic Yojimbo [1961] [DVD]); he really does put in a masterful performance here, calling on a massive range of emotions during the film's 133 minute running-time. Most interesting is how a surprisingly anti-samurai theme develops.

This is one of the best Japanese films around, but has been notoriously difficult to find until this recent release in the Masters of Cinema Series. It was worth the wait. Taken from a new transfer of the film, this looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray, with deep blacks - and closeups where you can see the individual, sweat-drenched pores on the faces. For those who haven't yet got a Blu-ray player, this includes a DVD containing the film as well, but the Blu-ray version really is breathtaking at times, and I'd encourage anyone to watch it this way. Extras are sparse, and limited to trailers and a short interview with the director, Masaki Kobayashi, but this is compensated for by including a 28-page booklet with a contemporary interview with the director, and a new essay, as well as some production stills.

Interestingly, this has been remade by notorious Japanese director Takashi Miike, into a 3D film (Hara-Kiri : Death of a Samurai [DVD]). It's easy to see why he chose this film as inspiration - it really is one of the best examples of samurai films around.
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on 18 April 2012
A film that gives you both a great story and inspired visuals, if you liked the Twilight Samurai, Hidden Blade or When the last sword is Drawn you need to watch this but dont expect the same infact its quite different almost anti-samurai but not quite, i will avoid the story because if you know beforehand it will slightly spoil the experience, its very much the story that draws you in and it will feel familar to you as many parts reminded me of newer films howerver Harakiri is the grandfather of so much, watch it and you will see what i mean, excellent!!
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on 21 May 2012
i was at uni when i was into my jidai geki samurai films , back 3 years ago.

i was unfortunate to get this film on a poor cheap dvd with bad quality. I knew then i had to get the best quality transfer. it meant me spending £16
on a region one criterion from the U.S , which came with a great transfer and info. And now eurka who are exellent in transfer of dvds, have taken on this classic, something i wished they would of done 5 years ago! but its too late for my region 2.

The movie itself is one of the best movies to come out of japan/asia.. and the one of the greatest samurai movies of all time. You are not reading this review , or stumbled on this page by accident , its because you either exloring japanese cinema , or your looking for a samurai film.
Anyone whos into world cinema / japanese cinema MUST watch this film. Its one of the films that show why tatsuya nakadai is one of the best in his profession, and also why tetsuro tamba is also none the less.

The film is sooo well written that it puts 80 per cent of nowdays films based on the same genre and theme, look amuteur and literally of a really poor standard. The acting in this film is superb , its natural the japanese in this period along with hong kong cinema during the 60s and 70s were a rare breed of opera/ period film experts.

The film portrays the life of a veteran samurai whos life is turned upside down, as peace enters japan. And unemployed samurai roam the streets in search of work. What becomes of this is , poverty and depression. And many samurai resort to desperate measures in order to feed their families, which in turn leads to abuse and exploitation.

The film is dark , depressing and intense. This is not dark humour like sanjuro and yojimbo kurosawa films.. but as kobyashis portrayel of hard life during the jidai geki. expect some disturbing scenes which will stick in your mind.

for me this is just behind seven samurai, in one of Japans finest works in film.

A true classic not be missed !!!

this is to samurai cinema , as what goodfellas is to the gangster genre.
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on 1 March 2013
Others have praised this film in detail so I will just add that it is one of Japan's cinematic gems, indeed a masterpiece of its kind.
The Eureka blu-ray treatment is well up to their usual high standard and this is just a great piece of cinema, sure to be enjoyed by genuine movie fans who aren't frightened of subtitles and black-and-white movie-making. Highly recommended.
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on 8 September 2016
A brilliant film with a clear message, about the futility of blindly following a system that is self serving, and has no regard for the people that keep the system in power, and has even less for those which it discards after years of loyal service. The last half hour is the most Important part as all is made clear, the sword fights are believable and remind me of footage(VHS), of real bouts of martial arts masters I have seen. The high-definition version is as clear as a bell (very crisp), I cannot remember the subtitles from the version I saw on Ch4 many years ago, but the one's on this version are easy to read, and they do not get in the way of the film(in my opinion), the DVD and Blu-ray set is so good I have just ordered it for a friend, for his B'day(his choice) after he watched it with me, this is a must have, if you like to collect the best of Japanese films.
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on 26 October 2013
Just as I expected a brilliant film. This film is excellent in the way it shows how the samurai lived and died by the code of honour they lived by and sometimes of others who may have abused it.
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on 5 December 2013
One of the cleverest stories in Japanese cinema. Nakadai's performance is superb - he dominates the film from his first frame, having a quiet command that even Mifune would find hard to better.
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