Seven Samurai

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Macmillan, Feb 26, 2002 - Performing Arts - 79 pages
2 Reviews
In 'Seven Samurai' (1954), a whole society is on the verge of irrevocable change. Akira Kurosawa's celebrated film, regarded by many to be the major achievement of Japanese cinema, is an epic that evokes the cultural upheaval brought on by the collapse of Japanese militarism in the sixteenth century, echoing also the sweeping cultural changes occurring in the aftermath of the American Occupation. The plot is deceptively simple. A village of farmers is beleaguered by a horde of bandits. In desperation the farmers decide to hire itinerant samurai to protect their crops and people from the bandits. There had never been a Japanese film in which peasants hired samurai, or an evocation of the social transformation that made such an idea credible. There are six samurai and one who is accepted as such. Together they reflect the ideals and values of a noble class near the point of extinction. Mellen contextualizes 'Seven Samurai', marking its place in Japanese cinema and in Kurosawa's career. She explores the film's roots in medieval history and, above all, the astonishing visual language in which Kurosawa created his elegiac epic.

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Review: Seven Samurai (BFI Modern Classics / BFI Film Classics)

User Review  - Jim - Goodreads

Another great book in the BFI Film Classics series. Mellen is an authority on Japanese cinema and the films of Akira Kurosawa. This is a concise but thorough analysis of this classic film. Gave me a lot of insight into the film and made me want to watch it yet again. Read full review

Review: Seven Samurai (BFI Modern Classics / BFI Film Classics)

User Review  - Orin - Goodreads

I watched Seven Samurai twice yesterday (the second time with the tag-team commentary track) and read this book this morning. It is excellent in treating the details of editing, plotting, and ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Joan Mellen is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia. Among her books are Marilyn Monroe (1973), Voices from the Japanese Cinema (1975), The Waves at Genji's Door: Japan Through Its Cinema (1976) and the dual biography Hellman and Hammett: The Legendary Passion of Lilian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett (1996).