Kagemusha

Kagemusha

4.2 5
Director: Akira Kurosawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kenichi Hagiwara

Cast: Akira Kurosawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kenichi Hagiwara

     
 

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Just as many American studio-era directors found acclaim abroad that was denied them in their home country, by 1980 Akira Kurosawa's reputation outside Japan exceeded his esteem at home. As uncompromising as ever, he found considerable difficulty securing backing for his ambitious projects. Unsure he would be able to film it, the director, an aspiring artist before he

Overview

Just as many American studio-era directors found acclaim abroad that was denied them in their home country, by 1980 Akira Kurosawa's reputation outside Japan exceeded his esteem at home. As uncompromising as ever, he found considerable difficulty securing backing for his ambitious projects. Unsure he would be able to film it, the director, an aspiring artist before he entered filmmaking, converted Kagemusha into a series of paintings, and it was partly on the basis of these that he won the financial support of longtime admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Set in the 16th century, when powerful warlords competed for control of Japan, it offers an examination of the nature of political power and the slipperiness of identity. For some time, Shingen Takeda Tatsuya Nakadai has been able to stay removed from the heat of battle by using his brother Nobukado Tsutomu Yamazaki as a double. As the film opens, Nobukado offers another option, having discovered a condemned thief (also played by Tatsuya Nakadai) bearing an uncanny resemblance to the warlord. After he insists on witnessing the fall of an enemy in person, Shingen falls victim to a sniper's bullet, forcing his advisers to present the thief as the fallen warrior. At first awkward in his new position and plagued by dreams in which the spirit of his double confronts him, he slowly grows into the role even as his enemies begin to advance on his kingdom. The winner of the Palm D'Or at Cannes, Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior has also been released as The Double. ~ Keith Phipps

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Kagemusha was an atypical entry in the canon of Akira Kurosawa, the master of the samurai epic. At the time, Kurosawa was gradually losing his eyesight, and his films were developing an increasingly impressive visual splendor. However, in Kagemusha, the action sequences are much less thrilling than in Kurosawa's other samurai epics. Here his focus is on character development and philosophical discourse. The film swings like a pendulum between stillness and action, an occasionally jarring mix of David Lean-like panoramas with intimate character study. In Kagemusha (which translates as "shadow warrior"), Kurosawa examines the concept of the double as a means to delve into enigmatic and paradoxical philosophical issues of identity, power, self-worth, and leadership. At first, Tatsuya Nakadai appears a little stiff in the essential dual role of warlord and thief, but his performance relies on subtle differences of intonation and gesture to reveal the evolution of his character. As always, Kurosawa's exploration of the values of feudal Japan provokes contemporary audiences to make parallels with modern Japan, a tendency that did not necessarily endear him to his countrymen. In fact, by 1980 Kurosawa was such a persona non grata in Japan that he had not made a film in five years: Kagemusha would not have been made without the financial assistance of George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/18/2009
UPC:
0715515048415
Original Release:
1980
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
3:00:00
Sales rank:
9,499

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tatsuya Nakadai Shingen Takeda/Kagemusha
Tsutomu Yamazaki Nobukado Takeda
Kenichi Hagiwara Katsuyori Takeda
Kota Yui Takemaru
Shuji Otake Yamagata
Daisuke Ryu Oda
Hideo Murota Baba
Masayuki Yui Iegasu Tokugawa
Takashi Shimura Gyobu Taguchi
Mitsuko Baisho Oyunokata
Kaori Momoi Otsuyanokata
Kamatari Fujiwara Doctor
Jinpachi Nezu Sohachiro Tsuchiya
Norio Matsui Actor

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Francis Ford Coppola Executive Producer
Masato Ide Producer,Screenwriter
Shinichiro Ikebe Score Composer
George Lucas Executive Producer
Kazuo Miyagawa Cinematographer
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Art Director
Asaichi Nakai Cinematographer
Takao Saito Cinematographer
Mieno Seiichiro Costumes/Costume Designer
Tomoyuki Tanaka Executive Producer
Masaharu Ueda Cinematographer
Shoji Ueda Cinematographer

Scene Index

Audio Commentary by Kurosawa Scholar Stephen Prince; Luca, Coppola, and Kurosawa, a 19-minute interview piece in which Directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola discuss Kurosawa and Kagemusha; A 41-minute Documentary on the making of the film; Image: Kurosawa's Continuity, a 44-minute video piece reconstructing Kagemusha through Kurosawa's paintings and sketches; Suntory Whiskey Commercials made on the set of Kagemusha ; Gallery of Storyboards painted by Kurosawa and images of their realization on-screen; Theatrical Trailers and Teasers; ; Plus: A Booklet featuring an essay by Scholar Peter Grilli and an Interview with Kurosawa by renowned critic Tony Rayns

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Kagemusha 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Japanese, samurai-era film I had ever seen, and let me say that I was just overwhelmed by everything about it. The sense of drama, the beauty of the sets, the scale of the action sequences, and by how deeply the actors got into their characters, kudos to Kurosawa, no doubt. Romanticized as I'm sure this type of film is (much like our cowboy movies), I was so impressed that I watch Kagemusha four or five times each year, (while drinking sake, of course!). It is a pensive, thoughtful movie, more than most of the genre, but anyone who enjoys movies about the wars of feudal Japan should not miss this.
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