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Samurai Rebellion - Criterion Collection
Samurai Rebellion - Criterion Collection
Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Y˘ko Tsukasa, Takeshi Kat˘, Tatsuyoshi Ehara, Etsuko Ichihara
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     2hr 8min

Toshiro Mifune stars as Isaburo, an aging swordsman living a quiet life until his clan lord orders that his son marry the lord's mistress, who has recently displeased the ruler. Reluctantly, father and son take in the woma...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Y˘ko Tsukasa, Takeshi Kat˘, Tatsuyoshi Ehara, Etsuko Ichihara
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Creators: Toshir˘ Mifune, Kazuo Yamada, Hisashi Sagara, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shinobu Hashimoto, Yasuhiko Takiguchi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Classics, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/25/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 8min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A Man, a Woman, a Sword, and Family Honor
James Paris | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To be a samurai meant owing nearly absolute allegiance to the leader of one's clan, the daimyo. One often filmed story is about 47 loyal samurai committing harakiri en masse when their clan is disbanded. But what happens when the daimyo is unjust and plays with the lives of his loyal samurai?In SAMURAI REBELLION, a young samurai is forced by his daimyo to marry a difficult mistress who had dared to manhandle him. Lady Ichi surprisingly turns out to be a jewel, and Yogoro, her new husband, grows to love her. When the daimyo changes his mind and has her kidnapped after several unsuccessful attempts to bully the family, Yogoro and his father Itaburo (Toshiro Mifune) singlehandedly take on the whole clan.Before you know it, the blades are out of their sheathes, and bodies are falling all over the place. Particularly spectacular is a duel between Itaburo and his friend Tatewaki (played by the great Tatsuya Nakadai) in a windswept field of grass. Director Masaki Kobayashi (KWAIDAN, HARAKIRI) is at his best here; and numerous scenes are icily controlled and eerily beautiful as he guides his camera, breaking down sequences into abstract geometrical patterns. I can't help remembering the song in the musical BANDWAGON which summarizes HAMLET as "The king and the prince meet / And everyone ends up mincemeat." As in HARAKIRI, there is a point to the mayhem here: The honor of a single family CAN outweigh the honor of the clan."
The Right to Love versus Social Order
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the 15 best movies ever made! (Witness the fact that all Amazon reviewers (22 of them) give it five stars!). The plot is
quite interesting. A woman, Lady Ichi, is forced by the regional Lord to marry into the family of a vassal (Samurai Isaburo played by the incomparable Toshiro Mifune) because she insulted the Lord in public. After two years, Isaburo's son and Lady Ichi fall in love; they have a daughter. All is well except it becomes convenient for the Lord to demand return of the woman and annul the marriage...thus Lady Ichi is twice betrayed. Samurai Isaburo is incensed. He and his son resist the claim of the Lord to take the woman back and literally fight to the death for the right of Lady Ichi and his son to love each other and legitimize the daughter. Throughout, the movie is quite sympathetic to women issues and Lady Ichi is portrayed magnificently.

What makes the movie so outstanding is the way in which sound, music, and photography are combined to reinforce the themes of the film. Literally, every frame of the movie has some symbolic significance: the positions of the parties, the carefully phrased speech of the protoganists and agonists, the sound of wind. Every frame is an art piece - like a still life. (This is the style of another of the director's masterpieces of historical Japan - HARAKIRI). If THRONE OF BLOOD is the Japanese version of Macbeth, SAMURAI REBLLION is the Japanese version of the Iliad. I loved it.

Gripping drama
Bacchus | 4066 Australia | 07/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I won't repeat details of the plot here, suffice to say that I found it completely gripping. I was very tired when I started to watch this, looking for an excuse to go to bed: None came, I was glued to the screen for the two hours and couldn't look away. A great story of a family wronged by their tyrannical lord, and the unwinnable fight they embark on.
Kobayashi's cinematography is brilliant, with virtually frame by frame composition of the picture. Soon you come to appreciate the black and white format as an asset used to underline the theme of geometry throughout the picture, with a high quality transfer to DVD.
Kobayashi also directed Harakiri, which I was equally impressed with. Both movies are quintessential Japanese cinema and an excellent investment."
Outstanding Samurai Drama: Love, Honor And Loyalty
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 12/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With well-developed characters, and outstanding actors, director Masaki Kobayashi, filmed not only a classic samurai film, but a great dramatic film as well. In fact, it is less a samurai film than a drama dealing with life during the Tokugawa era. This classic samurai film stars the legendary actor, (Toshiro Mifune) as Isaburo Sasahara. During the samurai period the daimyo, [the feudal lord], controlled the goings on of his samurai. One of these, Lord Masakata Matsudaira (Tatsuo Matsumura) has ordered that one of his concubine, Lady Ichi (Yoko Tsukasa) be banished from his sight. However, since she is the mother of his son, she cannot be treated indifferently. Therefore, it is arranged that she be married to the son of one of his loyal samurai. The son, Yagoro Sasahara (Go Kat) is the eldest son of the loyal samurai, Isaburo Sasahara (Toshiro Mifune).

However, even though the marriage is arranged, the two soon fall in love. Moreover, the two eventually have a daughter, Tomi. Seeing that his son has found love [something Isaburo has never known with his own wife], Isaburo decides to retire and make his son Yogoro head of the family clan. Meanwhile, Matsudaira's eldest son has died, making Ichi's son the heir. When Matsudaira demands that Lady Ichi return to the castle immediately, Yogoro refuses. The always loyal Isaburo backs his son up on this too. Yet, the lord shows no loyalty as he has Lady Ichi kidnapped. This creates a problem for Matsudaira, as he has wronged Yogoro. Therefore, in the eyes of the Shogunate, Yogoro is right, and Matsudaira is wrong. As a result, Matsudaira tries to save face with a show of force.

What eventually ensues is a showdown between Isaburo and his good friend Tatewaki Asano (Tatsuya Nakadai). Tatewaki Asano is an honorable man, and good friend, but as the film shows, it is loyalty that is at the heart of the film. Loyalty [whether deserving or not] that lead these two samurai to their eventual duel. Moreover, the film is a drama that must be played out. As I wrote in the beginning of this review, the film is more drama than your usual samurai film. And this is good, and necessary for this particular film. The drama unfolding in the film is important for setting up the story and suspense which will manifest itself in the end. This is one of the better samurai films out there, with an excellent cast and terrific story. It is highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]"