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Harakiri (Criterion Collection) (1963)

Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, more...
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Japan, Samurai, Criterion Collection
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property. Iyi's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for charity, try to force him to eviscerate himself--but they have underestimated his honor and his past. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri is a scathing denouncement of feudal authority and hypocrisy.

Bonus features:

  • New video interviews with legendary star Tatsuya Nakadai and acclaimed screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Exclusive video introduction by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
  • Original theatrical trailer

GreenCine Member Ratings

Harakiri (Criterion Collection) (1963)
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8.61 (80 votes)
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Harakiri (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (1963)
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6.83 (6 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

One of the grittiest Samurai movies ever by petromagne January 1, 2006 - 1:18 AM PST
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6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Many samurai movies were subverted into westerns (Seven Samurai/Magificient Seven, Yojimbo/A Fistful of Dollars, etc) but this one is all Japanese. Tatsuya Nakadia stars as the protagonist in this period drama, playing a ronin who asks to commit Seppuku (Harakiri), or ritual suicide. But nothing is quite as it seems in this gritty drama.

I first watched this film in a Japanese history class, because it so accurately portrayed this period in Japanese history. Hanshiro Tsugumo is a down on his luck ronin who would rather honorably commit suicide than continue living in squalor. However, as the story unfolds it becomes clear than Tsugumo has ulterior motives.

This is a must see movie for anyone who is a fan of Japanese history or japanese cinema. Tatsuya Nakadai gives an amazing performance, and the cinemotography is superb. The duels and swordfighting are exquistitely wrought and nearly poetic.

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