Goze, Samurai –
both inept and once great – and
Bandits are all here
So I`ve been chopping and changing my film list lately as I have mentioned but I just made another change to it, restoring Ichi to its rightful place in the list i.e. in the first section, having watched it again last night. Though there is one ex-Samurai in it, Banki, who has fallen out of favour (because of his looks) and another guy who did not quite make it to Samurai status because of his fear of drawing his sword (but was pretty handy with a wooden sword nonetheless), it`s mainly about one blind girl`s quest to find an answer to a big question in her life which brings her into the acquaintance of Toma and forces her into an encounter with Banki, who now leads a bandit gang against a yakuza family and the town they control. She fights as well as any Samurai too having been taught to fight by her father throughout her younger years, despite being blind. That`s why I put it in the Samurai section.
With the exception of the few heart-wrenching parts when she is a child and other certain scenes, I forgot how funny it is (not laugh out loud but chuckle-funny) especially hapless Toma who can`t use his real sword but amazingly gets by most of the time without having to draw it. The soundtrack is interesting as well, by Lisa Gerrard, who sings the main theme of Gladiator (great theme and great film). Not music I`d want to listen to too much, a bit heavy for me, but fitting for this film. I never paid attention to who it was before. Shidou Nakamura, who plays the leader of the bandits (and once great Samurai) does my head in though. Overacting just a tad as usual (I don`t really think he has that shibui-ness anymore either). His righthand man in the film definitely overacts. I don`t know who that actor is but I bet he`s in lots of gangster or samurai films. I mentioned in a previous post about Tora! Tora! Tora! that actors were encouraged to overact back then but maybe that is still the case or Nakamura is an actor who likes that method.
The film also shows how hard it is for women at that time. In this case, the character was spurned and thrown out of her Goze (blind musicians) troupe (the only section of society that she could feel part of) even though she was the victim in the particular situation. Men took advantage of her in one case, or she of them as she needed `to be warmed up at night` and women judged her for it. I say `that time`. A lot of women are still quite cruel to each other, whether a woman is a victim or not.