Random Thoughts

Certain Asian Movies I Recommend

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

There are some Asian movies I recommend, and they are all set in feudal times. They are:

  • “War of the Arrows” (sister is kidnapped for marriage and brother goes to find her and rescue her; Korean);
  • “Red Cliff (political decisions when there are three factions and one of them is very powerful; Chinese);
  • “Sunset Samurai” (a poor father who used to be a Samurai is trying to raise his two daughters by himself. Then his childhood female buddy shows up to complicate matters. She’s pretty, too. Despite the title, very little fighting with no visible bloodletting; Japanese. DISCLAIMER: I can’t find this anywhere. Someone might have changed the English name to make the title more attractive. If I find it, I’ll let you know. It’s a good movie.)

Also, anything by Japanese Director Akira Kurosawa. You’ll see some influence of the Kabuki Theater tradition in many of them:

  • “Ran” (a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.”) Kurosawa is such a perfectionist that the forts in “Ran” were made authentically with wooden pegs rather than nails to prevent sunlight from glinting off the nail heads during filming;
  • “Seven Samurai” was used as a basis for the American “The Magnificent Seven.”;
  • “Rashomon” shows different views by different people of the same crime. What is truth? This was re-told to American audiences as “The Outrage” starring Paul Newman, Laurence Harvey, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson and William Shatner;
  • “Throne of Blood” is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “MacBeth.”
  • “The Hidden Fortress.” I really recommend this one, although it’s difficult to find. It is dramatic and comedic at the same time. A princess is protected by her general, and they are in hiding from their enemies. They enlist the help of two peasants to help them, and the peasants aren’t terribly bright.
  • Comment: Toshiro Mifune (“Toh-SHEER- oh Mih-FOON-eh” – I may not have it entirely correct for pronunciation but close) is the protagonist in most of Kurosawa’s movies. It was thrilling to see Mifune in “The Fortress” riding a horse at full gallop without reins and being very steady while shooting arrows.

If you can find these movies, enjoy them during your time at home. They all have English subtitles, but I don’t know if there are other languages set as subtitles.

{NOTE: I chose a Chinese picture rather than a Japanese or Korean picture as I have readers from China but not from Japan or Korea.}

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