Quite excited, learned recently that Takashi Miike‘s, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, will be available here in the UK fairly soon. Right now all I know is that it’s an adaptation of Masaki Kobayashi‘s 1962 film Harakiri, which is one of my all time favourites.
The original film is set in 17th-century Japan, where an era of peace causes the Shogunate to breakup the various warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. Such a fate is abhorrent to a Samurai, and many prefer ritual suicide (hara kiri) than to live their lives destitute.
The film tells the story of an old warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai), who arrives seeking admittance to the house of a feudal lord in order to commit ritual suicide.
The reason behind Hanshiro’ arrival is far more complex, as his real motive is to exact revenge against the house. Whilst preparing to commit the act, Hanshiro recounts, in flashback, to the various assembled members of the house, the tragic story of his son-in-law who was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. The story comes to a head when it is revealed his son in law was forced to commit ritual suicide with a dull bamboo blade when he came to the same house seeking work.
The original film was brilliant, and I’m really excited to see how Miike has re-imagined the story. There’s a trailer here.