OBACHAN'S SCRIBBLES

Thursday, December 02, 2004

IT'S A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE

I rented and watched a video, “The Last Samurai” yesterday. (Yes, I waited for about a year for this film to be available in videos.) Since then I’ve been having a hard time trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I think the movie was well-made, but somehow, for everything I want to write about it, there always comes a word “but…” at the end.

“Yes, the battle scenes and sword fights were marvelously done, but…” “Yes, American staff obviously studied Japanese culture to a great extent and visualized it successfully. I do feel their respect towards Japanese culture and Kurosawa’s movie, and as a Japanese I appreciate it so much, but…” “Yes, Katsumoto’s presence was impressive, and the friendship between he and Algren was touching, but…” “Yeah, I can see how Algren was attracted to Bushido, and how taka and Algren felt attracted to each other, but…” And what’s annoying is that I can’t figure out what I want to add after those “buts.”

A friend of mine who saw this movie last year at the theater had told me, “After all, I didn’t think that movie was really about Bushido. It’s more about Native Americans.” At that time I thought “What the heck is this guy talking about?” but now I think I see what he meant. I also can’t help feeling “this movie is not about samurai or Bushido per se.”

I mean no offence, but I wondered if this film was about America’s self-questioning or self-reflection about the way they have been and how they have treated minority groups. Was Samurai/Bushido a vehicle for their self-reflection? There’s nothing bad about that and, as a Japanese, I didn’t get my feelings hurt by that, “but…” I just can’t help feeling that something was displaced, though I’m not sure what that “something” is.

Anyway, in this movie, there were some scenes in which taka shut the sliding door between she and Algren. I felt something really Japanese and feminine in the way she shut the door.

posted by obachan, 12/02/2004 01:21:00 AM

3 Comments:

Perhaps the "but" relates to the fact the lead actor is... Caucasian! Awfully stupid, isn't it? In this sense, it is about American culture: that is, America's racism.
commented by Blogger Evil Jonny, 12/02/2004 11:17 AM  
No, I didn’t think so at all. I definitely thought the lead actor HAD TO be a Cocasian. That’s a very important point in this story, I think.
commented by Blogger obachan, 12/02/2004 11:31 AM  
How deep is your love?

It's not love, is it? Where is it?

I think that's the answer to why I don't care for this movie at all. It's just talk.

If this movie were a romantic relationship pretty by all appearances, I wouldn't be expecting a happy ending.
commented by Anonymous schmaltz, 5/06/2007 3:31 PM  

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