Courtesy Janus Films

Harakiri with Tatsuya Nakadai

With Tatsuya Nakadai in person

Dir. Masaki Kobayashi. 1962, 133 mins. 35mm. With Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentaro Mikuni, Shima Iwashita. In Harakiri,set in the early seventeenth century when the oppressive reign of the Tokugawa shogunate had just begun, Kobayashi uses the period film to repudiate the tradition of unthinking obeisance to established power structures in Japanese society. Nakadai plays well beyond his years as the aging samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo, who sets out to avenge the death of his son-in-law in a ritual suicide presided over by the disdainful Iyi clan. Film historian Joan Mellen called this “the most vibrant expression of [Kobayashi’s] belief that life is not worth living unless injustice is confronted with unrelenting force and single-minded purpose.”

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