Herein lies another post regarding my reactions to various art cinema pieces (cine de arte) I’ve been watching lately. This one I watched about a month or so back, and in its almost 3 and a half hours (jokingly referred to as about 1 hour per samurai), The Seven Samurai (Los Siete Samurai), directed by Akira Kurosawa (Japan) and released in 1954, is one of my top picks for the year.
This one is a must watch. Kurosawa’s magnum opus of a film about a ragtag team of 6 inducted, and 1 vagabond, samurai who band together to save residents of a poor farming village who are being terrorized by a group of bandits is a powerful piece of art cinema, and proves just how awesome Japanese cinema is. This director is a master of storytelling, taking what could be considered a generic storyline (heroes save poor people from bandits), and turning it into an exploration of the depths of the human spirit, which includes an objective analysis of both our shortcomings and our achievements. Honor is a main theme of this movie, but does not overwhelm the multidimensionality of the film by over-centering it as a moralizing tale about good v. evil. Instead, I identified deeply with the characters, recognizing myself in each of the 7 samurai, even though I am female, not indoctrinated in Japanese cultural traditions, and watching a tale that was written and produced over 50 years ago. I realized in watching the film that these archetype characters represent the basis of what constitutes the human condition, and it doesn’t matter what language, time period, or country they are based in because these ideals are universally human.
Lately, as I have mentioned in the previous post, “growth” has become a central theme of my life and thought processes of late, resulting in a return to art, a rediscovery of my own personality, my likes and dislikes, and my thoughts on the world, which are constantly shifting because I am trying my best to be as conscious in this life as possible, which opens me up to many emotions that often frighten me. I am confronting fears and doubts on an almost daily basis. I am recognizing the skills and talents I have and have earned, and am beginning to value them. This process also has resulted in a re-valuing of myself as a human being.
So, in watching The Seven Samurai, I realized that although I identify with all 7 main characters to a certain extent, I am most like the seventh, vagabond samurai, the “triangle” in the samurai flag, the one who knows the drill, knows how to “be” a samurai, but is actually not one:
This samurai is made fun of (well, he is a little crazy, actually), and doesn’t follow the samurai code. He does things his own way, breaking all the rules, but in the end, the other samurai recognize the he actually embodies their ideals just as much as the formally trained ones do, and should therefore garner the same amount of respect, both in life and in death.
However, this road to redemption is long and winding, and comes with many missteps, something that I myself am discovering. We believe that we want to belong to something so badly that we’ll do anything to get “in,” beg, borrow, or steal. However, sometimes when we do make it “in,” it is not what it appears, what we thought it was, what we wanted, or what we wish it to be. We are often left with a sense of deflation, both of our egos and of our hopes and dreams. However, I have learned that this stagnancy doesn’t have to permanent, that rebellion is permitted and should be implemented at will in order to truly recognize our potential, hence the “7th samurai feeling”:
Use your skills to determine your future, and seriously, forget what “they” all say. Yes, of course, there are structures in this world that we must follow to a certain degree, but this does not mean that living in fear of breaking imaginary codes is the only way to proceed. Also examine the boundaries presented to you, and take that leap to break them. The rupture is what makes us wake up, what makes us feel truly alive. This I do believe.
So, embrace your inner samurai and watch this movie as soon as possible, to experience a story as heartbreaking as it is inspirational, because:
Have you seen The Seven Samurai? ¿Han visto Los Siete Samurai?
Sound off in the comments. Platícala en los comentarios.
Discussion is always welcomed.