Masters of Japanese Cinema: Samurai Trilogy in Jan.

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Masters of Japanese Cinema

Masters of Japanese Cinema shines a light on the rich history of Japanese cinema, from old masters such as Ozu, Akira Kurosawa and Naruse, to modern masters such as Miyazaki, Kore-eda, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Curated by Jeff Purdue, a librarian and professor at Western Washington University. In addition to his library duties, he occasionally teaches classes on popular music at Fairhaven College. He is an avid fan and student of Japanese film and popular music.

3 in a row: Samurai Trilogy
byToshiro Mifune

Jan. 8th, 9th & 10th


Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (@ the Limelight)

Showing at Limelight Limelight
  • Tue. 1/8 6:00 PM

93 minutes • 1954 • Japan • In Japanese w/ English subtitles • Unrated

PFC's Masters of Japanese Cinema

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In the first part of the epic Samurai Trilogy, Toshiro Mifune thunders onto the screen as the iconic title character. When we meet him, Miyamoto is a wide-eyed romantic, dreaming of military glory in the civil war that is ravaging the seventeenth-century countryside. Twists of fate, however, turn him into a fugitive. But he is saved by a woman who loves him and a cunning priest who guides him to the samurai path. Though the opening installment of a series, this film, lushly photographed in color, stands on its own, and won an Academy Award for the best foreign-language film of 1955.

Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (@ the Limelight)

Showing at Limelight Limelight
  • Wed. 1/9 6:00 PM

104 minutes • 1955 • Japan • In Japanese w/ English subtitles • Unrated

PFC's Masters of Japanese Cinema

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Toshiro Mifune furiously embodies swordsman Musashi Miyamoto as he comes into his own in the action-packed middle section of the Samurai Trilogy. Duel at Ichijoji Temple furthers Miyamoto along his path to spiritual enlightenment, as well as further from the arms of the two women who love him: loyal Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa) and conniving yet tragic Akemi (Mariko Okada). The film also brings him face to face with hordes of rivals intent on cutting him down, especially his legendary rival Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta). The titular climax is one of Japanese cinema’s most rousingly choreographed conflicts, intensified by Jun Yasumoto’s color cinematography and Ikuma Dan’s triumphant score.

Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (@ the Limelight)

Showing at Limelight Limelight
  • Thu. 1/10 6:00 PM

105 minutes • 1956 • Japan • In Japanese w/ English subtitles • Unrated

PFC's Masters of Japanese Cinema

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A disillusioned Musashi Miyamoto (Toshiro Mifune) has turned his back on the samurai life, becoming a farmer in a remote village, while his nemesis Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta) now works for the shogun. Circumstances bring them back together for one final face-off. Though it’s marked by a memorably intense final battle sequence, the rousing conclusion to the Samurai Trilogy is engaged with matters of the heart as well, as Miyamoto must ask himself what it is that makes a warrior and a man.