This week World Cinema is screening Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri (1962), a film I cannot review owing to a defective DVD. Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune called it, “A devastating, emotionally intense critique of the feudal system’s hypocrisy and the warrior’s code.” And from what I can glean, that seems to be the case. Where most films tend to paint a glorified image of the Samurai, only claiming that the feudal system only went bad in its final years, Kobayashi’s film appears to work on the premise that the system was always inherently corrupt. Reviewing the Blu-ray release for Slant Magazine, Budd Wilkins (who gives the film four out of five stars) notes, “Structured with intricacy and precision, the storyline alternates between present and past, using its extended flashback sequences to delay and then detonate narrative revelations like so many time bombs.”
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