THE FORTY-SEVEN RONIN
Rick’s Journal — MY FILM CAREER
The Loyal Forty-Seven Ronin of the Genroku Era Kenji Mizoguchi 1941, 1942
Though fascinated and gripped by every moment of this film, I found myself wondering, afterwards, if its length is pretentious. Events are recounted and explanations of them given two and three times. A scene from Part One (released originally as a separate film) suddenly appears in Part Two, jolting me into realizing that I had been viewing a flashback.
I do always view Japanese cinema with skepticism — skepticism of myself. Despite years of enjoying films from Japan, I am solidly aware of my naïveté as regards Far East culture. The departure of Oishi’s wife and children in Part One is stately and time-consuming and moving but, to my western eyes, without explanation of the wife’s motivation, without showing or addressing her change of mind. We had last seen and heard her swearing never to leave her husband. Is what I am looking for in the scene obvious to the Japanese viewer — or to those more knowledgeable of Japanese mores and history? Like, say, David Bax. READ HIS BLOG Battleship Pretension of 8/27/15 (www.battleshippretension.com). With perspicacity and precision and brevity that I cannot match, he writes of The Forty-Seven Ronin, the intent of much Japanese cinema and the distinction between our two cultures.
NEXT FRIDAY POST January 27
See you at the movies,