AKIRA KUROSAWA | JAPAN | 1954 | 207 MIN | JAPANESE | 35 MM
Set during the 16th century Sengoku period of Japan, SEVEN SAMURAI opens with the unfortunate news that a large group of bandits plan to raid a defenseless farming village after the harvest. The poor villagers immediately seek out desperate ronin willing to risk their lives for handfuls of rice and promises of honor. Though most, like team leader Shimada (Takashi Shimura), come with sterling resumes, hot headed loner Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) may have fudged a couple past work experiences. None of it will matter when the bandits arrive! Without Seven Samurai and a number of other Kurosawa classics the cinema landscape would surely look and feel vastly different today. The film essentially invented the drama, and inherent humor, that naturally emerges when a rag tag group of strangers are united for a higher purpose or maybe just a flashy casino heist. The variety of character personalities and its infamous runtime allowed Kurosawa to craft a remarkable film filled with action and heart that remains endlessly entertaining.
Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki
Part of the Philadelphia Film Society’s FILM ESSENTIALS series.
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