The Twilight Samurai / たそがれ清兵衛

No, Kurosawa did not direct this film

YES

Release date: November 2, 2002
Director: Yoji Yamada
Language: Japanese

Who should watch this movie: Fans of Seven Samurai. Folks interested in kendo. Former Fencers.

When should you watch this movie: When you need a hero to root for. When you’ve seen enough period dramas starring Kiera Knightley.

The sell: Now this is a real samurai movie; a study in swordplay and human drama, and a beautiful portrayal of both. Taking place in the final years of the Edo Period, the once great samurai class faces down its own irrelevance. The main character is nothing but a moral man – in all other ways defying the classic tropes of “samurai hero.” The film considers the full range of human behavior, exploring how conflict of desire and social obligation can push individuals in myriad directions. Themes of vulnerability and desperation live comfortably alongside themes of honor and justice. At times an action adventure, and at times a quiet meditation, this movie offers no clear answers. It leaves only a sense of history closing a chapter and a glimpse at those left to watch to watch it end.

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