Movie Information

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Harakiri at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
Genre: Drama
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsuro Tamba
Rated: NR

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.”

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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