Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

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Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jun 19, 2005 6:43 pm

Zatichi umi o wataru (1966) Zatoichi's Pilgrimage

There is very little action in this chapter of the adventures of Zatoichi, there is a big fight at the end and a one on one but thats pretty much it.

A pregnant woman is attacked and robbed, Zatoichi stumbles across her as she has started to give birth, he manages to deliver the boy but the mother dies leaving him holding the baby.

Once in the local village he tries to trace the father of the baby but its not long before much bigger problems arise in the shape of Dashu and his gang who want to take over the town and turn the Inn into a brothel.

There is the token gambling with dice scene, the rescuing of a damsel in distress, an incorruptable official who like most decent people ends up on the wrong side of the bad guys and pays for it. Poor old Zatoichi gets accused of murdering and robbing the woman whos baby he delivered but manages to clear his name, he shows great warmth and humanity even towards his accuser.

All in all a decent chapter, this is the earliest Zatoichi film Ive seen and is probably closer to the original vision.

This episode made me wish I could see more of the earlier films.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 


Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jun 19, 2005 6:43 pm

Zatichi umi o wataru (1966) Zatoichi's Pilgrimage

There is very little action in this chapter of the adventures of Zatoichi, there is a big fight at the end and a one on one but thats pretty much it.

A pregnant woman is attacked and robbed, Zatoichi stumbles across her as she has started to give birth, he manages to deliver the boy but the mother dies leaving him holding the baby.

Once in the local village he tries to trace the father of the baby but its not long before much bigger problems arise in the shape of Dashu and his gang who want to take over the town and turn the Inn into a brothel.

There is the token gambling with dice scene, the rescuing of a damsel in distress, an incorruptable official who like most decent people ends up on the wrong side of the bad guys and pays for it. Poor old Zatoichi gets accused of murdering and robbing the woman whos baby he delivered but manages to clear his name, he shows great warmth and humanity even towards his accuser.

All in all a decent chapter, this is the earliest Zatoichi film Ive seen and is probably closer to the original vision.

This episode made me wish I could see more of the earlier films.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:48 am

Shin Zatichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri (1973) Zatoichi's Conspiracy aka Zatoichi at the Blood Fest

This was episode 25, the last of the "old school" Zatichi films.

Strangely enough, this went back to the purity of the earlier films, Zatoichi returns to the town of his birth, an old friend of his also returns at the same time, the difference being his old friend splashes money round and is shown a great deal of respect because of it. There is an ulterior motive to the money spending and his old friend soon shows his true colours by bringing in workers to exploit the towns quarry and thugs to keep control of the town people and the peasants.

Zatoichi is very unhappy with the exploitation of decent people and after a long build up including the necessary gambling scene, crooked bureaucrats and threats he metes out his justice on the gangs and his old friend.

Notable because of the simplicity of the storyline and the almost redemptive feeling of the film.

A nice way to finish the series and not as problematic as the previous film Zatoichi in Desperation.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:48 am

Shin Zatichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri (1973) Zatoichi's Conspiracy aka Zatoichi at the Blood Fest

This was episode 25, the last of the "old school" Zatichi films.

Strangely enough, this went back to the purity of the earlier films, Zatoichi returns to the town of his birth, an old friend of his also returns at the same time, the difference being his old friend splashes money round and is shown a great deal of respect because of it. There is an ulterior motive to the money spending and his old friend soon shows his true colours by bringing in workers to exploit the towns quarry and thugs to keep control of the town people and the peasants.

Zatoichi is very unhappy with the exploitation of decent people and after a long build up including the necessary gambling scene, crooked bureaucrats and threats he metes out his justice on the gangs and his old friend.

Notable because of the simplicity of the storyline and the almost redemptive feeling of the film.

A nice way to finish the series and not as problematic as the previous film Zatoichi in Desperation.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:19 am

I have now seen 7 of the old Zatoichi (blind swordsman) films, and I will rate them together now. It's unlikely that I'll be able to get hold of any of the others but I would have liked to see the first 2 in the series just to get an impression of the growth and development of the character.

Zatoichis Pilgrimage 1966 - Probably the closest to the genuine spirit of the original character.

Zatoichi the Outlaw 1967 - A bit too muddled in terms of storyline, lacking that something special.

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo 1970 - Nicely constructed plot, good character interaction and a different side to Zatoichi.

Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire 1970 - Good original fight sequences you get the impression that they enjoyed making this episode, ott nasty boss et al.

Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman 1971 Fine but felt as though it could be better.

Zatoichi in Desperation 1972 - Different and difficult, you feel the end of the series is near with this one, has a real air of despair about it. Better than average though because it is so different.

Zatoichi's Conspiracy 1973 - The last of the original series and it's back to basics, slightly redemptive but a good way to leave the series.

So in judgement, if you want to see a couple of the films, I'd recommend either "Zatoichis Pilgrimage 1966" or "Zatoichi's Conspiracy 1973" for the purity to the original character unless you can get hold of the first films.

For something slightly different I'd go for "Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo 1970" a good showcase for both characters and great interaction.

Although I haven't seen it, "The Blind Swordsman and the Chess Expert 1965" is supposed to be one of the better episodes.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:19 am

I have now seen 7 of the old Zatoichi (blind swordsman) films, and I will rate them together now. It's unlikely that I'll be able to get hold of any of the others but I would have liked to see the first 2 in the series just to get an impression of the growth and development of the character.

Zatoichis Pilgrimage 1966 - Probably the closest to the genuine spirit of the original character.

Zatoichi the Outlaw 1967 - A bit too muddled in terms of storyline, lacking that something special.

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo 1970 - Nicely constructed plot, good character interaction and a different side to Zatoichi.

Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire 1970 - Good original fight sequences you get the impression that they enjoyed making this episode, ott nasty boss et al.

Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman 1971 Fine but felt as though it could be better.

Zatoichi in Desperation 1972 - Different and difficult, you feel the end of the series is near with this one, has a real air of despair about it. Better than average though because it is so different.

Zatoichi's Conspiracy 1973 - The last of the original series and it's back to basics, slightly redemptive but a good way to leave the series.

So in judgement, if you want to see a couple of the films, I'd recommend either "Zatoichis Pilgrimage 1966" or "Zatoichi's Conspiracy 1973" for the purity to the original character unless you can get hold of the first films.

For something slightly different I'd go for "Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo 1970" a good showcase for both characters and great interaction.

Although I haven't seen it, "The Blind Swordsman and the Chess Expert 1965" is supposed to be one of the better episodes.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby Sara » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:13 pm

Thank you so much, Trevor for evaluating these Blind Swordsman's films.

Netflix has Zatoichi's Conspiracy so I will start with that. In looking it up on Netflix, I see it includes the actor, Takashi Shimura, who is in so many of Kurasawa's films - especially Ikura and 7 Samurai.

Then I will see Kitano's Zatoichi.

I notice in your star system you gave two other films 3 ***. Would you give Z's Conspiracy 3 ***? I assume you would since you suggested it (along with the Pilgrimage) above all the others that you have seen.

Thanks again. I hope you enjoyed watching all the films. You surely did a thorough evaluation of them.

Sara
Sara
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby Sara » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:13 pm

Thank you so much, Trevor for evaluating these Blind Swordsman's films.

Netflix has Zatoichi's Conspiracy so I will start with that. In looking it up on Netflix, I see it includes the actor, Takashi Shimura, who is in so many of Kurasawa's films - especially Ikura and 7 Samurai.

Then I will see Kitano's Zatoichi.

I notice in your star system you gave two other films 3 ***. Would you give Z's Conspiracy 3 ***? I assume you would since you suggested it (along with the Pilgrimage) above all the others that you have seen.

Thanks again. I hope you enjoyed watching all the films. You surely did a thorough evaluation of them.

Sara
Sara
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:40 pm

Zatichi (2003) aka The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi

Directed by Takeshi Kitano

Starring Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michiyo Ookusu

Kitano took the dual role of acting and directing, it paid off handsomely.

So what if anything could Takeshi Kitano add to the character of Zatoichi? In all honesty not very much; he does a brilliant job of mimicking Shintar Katsu as Zatoichi, the same demeanor, the same bumbling awkwardness that you know is just an act, the same kind natured personality.

So what if anything could Takeshi Kitano add to the storyline? Again not very much, the storyline falls very much within the limits of the original series, Zatoichi comes to a town, drinks, gambles, helps those in need, takes down the local gang and has a duel with a highly trained samurai.

So why is this the best Zatoichi film bar none?

One very simple reason, Takeshi Kitano. This is Takeshi Kitanos Zatoichi from start to finish, the humour (which Ill come back to) the use of rhythm both musical and physical, the directing, the editing, pretty much everything.

Going back to the humour, I was very lucky to see this in a cinema with my sons and some Japanese students, girls and boys, we laughed most of the way through the film, strange thing is though; it was only our group that was laughing, I think most of the audience missed out on the humour for some reason!

As "A" said, Haven't seen Kitanos, because he himself said it was his most commercial film, so I wasn't really interested. I have no doubt this is his most commercial film especially as far as a Japanese audience is concerned, but that doesnt take away the fact that this is an extremely entertaining well made film with Kitanos stamp all over it.

The tap dancing finale is a treat!

Tadanobu Asano is the guest Samurai opponent. In Japan he is a huge star often compared in terms of status to Johnny Depp. His other films include:

Last Life in the Universe
Ichi the Killer
Distance
Gohatto
Maborosi

Hes also a singer in a rock band.

Michiyo Ookusu has been acting since 1966 and starred in Zatoichi's Pilgrimage as well as many other films.

All in all a very entertaining film.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Blind Swordsman films (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:40 pm

Zatichi (2003) aka The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi

Directed by Takeshi Kitano

Starring Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michiyo Ookusu

Kitano took the dual role of acting and directing, it paid off handsomely.

So what if anything could Takeshi Kitano add to the character of Zatoichi? In all honesty not very much; he does a brilliant job of mimicking Shintar Katsu as Zatoichi, the same demeanor, the same bumbling awkwardness that you know is just an act, the same kind natured personality.

So what if anything could Takeshi Kitano add to the storyline? Again not very much, the storyline falls very much within the limits of the original series, Zatoichi comes to a town, drinks, gambles, helps those in need, takes down the local gang and has a duel with a highly trained samurai.

So why is this the best Zatoichi film bar none?

One very simple reason, Takeshi Kitano. This is Takeshi Kitanos Zatoichi from start to finish, the humour (which Ill come back to) the use of rhythm both musical and physical, the directing, the editing, pretty much everything.

Going back to the humour, I was very lucky to see this in a cinema with my sons and some Japanese students, girls and boys, we laughed most of the way through the film, strange thing is though; it was only our group that was laughing, I think most of the audience missed out on the humour for some reason!

As "A" said, Haven't seen Kitanos, because he himself said it was his most commercial film, so I wasn't really interested. I have no doubt this is his most commercial film especially as far as a Japanese audience is concerned, but that doesnt take away the fact that this is an extremely entertaining well made film with Kitanos stamp all over it.

The tap dancing finale is a treat!

Tadanobu Asano is the guest Samurai opponent. In Japan he is a huge star often compared in terms of status to Johnny Depp. His other films include:

Last Life in the Universe
Ichi the Killer
Distance
Gohatto
Maborosi

Hes also a singer in a rock band.

Michiyo Ookusu has been acting since 1966 and starred in Zatoichi's Pilgrimage as well as many other films.

All in all a very entertaining film.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

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