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Director: Masaki Kobayashi
1962 / 133min / 35mm
In an Edo period Japan where disease and poverty are everywhere, a wandering ronin, Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai), arrives at the castle of one Lord Iyi with a simple request: permission to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) in the courtyard. Reuniting with Nakadai, the star of his three-part The Human Condition, Kobayashi brings the same sense of mournful outrage that defined his World War II epic to the chambara, with Tsugumo’s recounting of his life story for an audience of Iyi’s retainers—and the bloody tumult that follows it—amounting to a bitter rebuke to the samurai’s moral code of bushido.
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