The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) (2004)
Veteran filmmaker Yoji Yamada -- who is perhaps most famous for cranking out most of the 48 films of the Tora-san series -- directs this good-natured drama set in the waning years of the Edo period (1600-1867). Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada) is a low-level samurai struggling to get by on stipend of 50 rice bales a year while working as a clerk at the clan office. While his co-workers spend their evenings sucking down sake at the local pub, Seibei, whose wife has passed away, heads straight home to care for his two young daughters and doddering mother. One day, his friend Michinojo (Mitsuru Fukikoshi) tells him that his boyhood friend Tomoe (Rie Miyazawa), is leaving her thuggish husband and returning home. Tomoe soon starts to frequent Seibei's house, taking care of his daughters, while Seibei quietly falls in love with the attractive young lass. After defeating Tomoe's husband in a duel, armed with only a pointed stick, Seibei is asked by Michinojo if he wants to marry Tomoe. Seibei declines, too embarrassed by his poverty to accept. Later, as he prepares to perform the distasteful task of killing a fellow samurai, he learns that Tomoe is engaged to another man. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei)
There is violence -- the gritty, bloody kind, not the balletic jumping off walls variety -- but it is kept firmly in its place and never allowed to take over.
Yamada has a master's touch, creating a foggy rural world of hills, rivers, and trees in springtime
gives us a humble family man protagonist who goes against the grain of the stereotypical Samurai archetype
Deeply humane... a bittersweet, eloquent tribute to a man who is bent but not crushed beneath the weight of his various competing duties.
Twilight Samurai is to Japanese samurai flicks what Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven was to American Westerns.
The film does have some very memorable moments. And Sanada's convincing performance as the world-weary former man of action certainly helps.
Director Yoji Yamada tenderly portrays Iguchi as an anomaly among the ambitious samurai - a quiet man who would rather farm than fight.
The story sometimes slips into soapy territory, but when you think the schmaltz is going to ruin it, Yamada gives it just enough of a twist to make you realize this is not your regular romantic film.
With Samurai, faced at 71 with what may have been the most challenging project of his career, [Yamada] blossomed like a gnarled cherry tree exploding in flowers on the last day of spring.
Yoji Yamada's film has enough nice-guy self-sacrifice and shows of feminine pluck to fuel a Lifetime miniseries. Not that that's a bad thing, given the quiet power that emanates from Sanada's and Miyazawa's dignified performances.
Intent on presenting a realistic depiction of mundane life in the 19th century and demystifying a central cultural icon, director Yoji Yamada has crafted a stunningly acted saga that explores the true nature of honor.
It is awash in the precision and beauty of the mundane and the everyday.
Achingly beautiful and deeply moving, The Twilight Samurai turns a familiar genre inside out and finds it full of dramatic gold.
Audience Reviews for The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei)
Touching, low-key melodrama on the personal side of a japanese warrior / salaryman.
Bonus points for cool alternate language titles: Le Samouraï du Crépuscule and Samurai in der Dämmerung.
Awesome Japanese 'Jane Austen' samurai drama flick. The direction of the film is beautifully impressionist. Yôji Yamada crafts pictures of everyday life which gives us an inherent understanding of the life of Seibei Iguchi (Hiroyuki Sanada), a low-ranking widowed samurai with a senile mother and two daughters, working in the castle's stores and taking in piecework to get by.
Sanada is really a marvel to watch; he adds a very sensible depth and modesty to the character, and infuses it with some understated comic acting as well.
As his returning childhood friend, Rie Miyazawa has a beautiful, spirited feminity that makes Sanada seem even more of a macho hunk in contrast.
The Twilight Samurai tells of gentle tale of the sacrifices of a determined father and brave warrior who is burdened, but refuses to succumb to the weight of his responsibilities to his family and clan. Impressive perspective on Japanese history and tradition. Skillful performances and cinematography. Precise emotions. Profound insights. Stunning.More
A rather quiet film, The Twilight Samurai is a gentle, insightful, beautiful piece about a widower who works as a dull accountant for a war lord. And, oh yes, he happens to be a hell of a good swordsman when necessary. He reluctantly fights and only seeks to do exactly enough to halt the attacks.
All that might seem to be code words for dull, but Twilight Samurai is a fascinating, unique and thought provoking glimpse into the life of a low-ranking Samurai. Highly recommended for any fan of samurai films.
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