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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Weekend Movie Nights

Aloha Everyone,

This weekend, we watched two movies produced in Japan.

Seven Samurai, released in 1954 has consistently ranked as one of the preeminent films. It won the greatest foreign-language film in BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation) 2018 international critics’ pool. Seven Samurai also has been reputed as one of the most “copied”, “borrowed” “made-over” films in cinema.

The story takes place in 1586 during the Sengoku Jidai (warring era). It is a simple story of farmers in a village who employ seven masterless samurai to help the villager fight off bandits. The process of identifying and convincing 7 masterless samurai to accept this unusual task for a mere exchange of food shows the genius of Akira Kurosawa, the director. The viewer might notice similarities of the village elder with Yoda from Star Wars. Many western film makers have paid tribute to Kurosawa by adopting the story lines, characters as well as the essence of the Seven Samurai. J.J. and I must have watched this film about a dozen times over the years but always find it enjoyable.

Whisper of the Heart is an animation film made in 1995. It is a romantic coming of age story directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. The Japanese title translates as “If you listen closely”. I enjoyed the theme music which is an adoptarían of the song, Take Me Home Country Roads popularized by John Denver. Graphics are beautiful, but the storyline is more appropriate for much younger audience.

Aloha -- Cathi