In the film "Seven Samurai" (1954) a whole society is on the verge of irrevocable change. Many people consider this film a major achievemnet in Japanese cinema, an epic that evokes the cultural upheaval brought on by the collapse of Japanese militarism in the 16th century, echoing the sweeping changes occuring in the aftermath of the American occupation. The plot is deceptively simple. A village of farmers is beset by a horde of bandits, and in desperation the village hire itinerant samurai to protect their crops and their village. In the end the samurai see off the bandits. Together the samurai reflect the ideals and values of a noble class near the point of extinction. The film may be a technical masterpiece, and despite its movement and violence it appears to be a lament for a lost nobility. In this book Mellen contextualizes "Seven Samurai", marking its place in Japanese cinema, and in director, Akira Kurosawa's career. Mellen explores the film's roots in mediaeval history and the film's visual language.
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action Akira Kurosawa American Western bandits become BFI Film Classics Brynner camera character chase conflict counterpoint culture daimyo Daisuke Kato daughter death deep space depiction Desser Donald Richie Eisenstein's emerges entire expresses extreme close-up farmers fate film-maker film's final battle Gorobei and Kambei gunfighters guns Heihachi Hideyoshi High and Low hire samurai horses Japan Japanese cinema Japanese film jidai-geki Kambei says kidnapper Kikuchiyo killed Kurosawa enlists Kurosawa suggests Kurosawa's films Kyuzo Manzo Mifune Minoru Chiaki Mizoguchi montage Mosuke motion musical motif Nagisa Oshima old grandad Oshima peasants rain realism reflects reveals rice Rikichi ronin samurai class Sato scene Seiji Miyaguchi selflessness Sengoku Setsuko Hara Seven Samurai Shichiroji Shino and Katsushiro Shinoda shogun shot compositions six samurai sixteenth century social sound spear stands survival sword Takashi Shimura technique telephoto lens theme Tokugawa Toshiro Mifune transcendence village warlords warrior wind women Yohei Yojimbo Yoshio Inaba young Yukie