Chushingura means “loyalty,” and that potent Japanese theme runs throughout this stately samurai epic that is often called the Gone with the Wind of Japanese cinema. While that may be a fitting cultural parallel, it gives an inaccurate impression of the film, based on one of Japan’s most often interpreted historical events. Set during the Tokugawa shogunate in 1701, it centers on 47 loyal samurai who seek vengeance against the arrogant elder statesman who caused their master’s ritual suicide.
This action-packed epic stars Ichikawa Raizo as an honest man who joins the Shinsengumi out of admiration for its leader, Isami Kondo (Tomisaburo Wakayama), and because he wants to die as a samurai. But as his involvement grows, reality and idealism come into deadly conflict.
|Sakuran © 2007 Sakuran Film Committee © Moyoco Anno/Kodansha.|
Sold into the red light district as a young girl during the edo period, foul-mouthed, spunky Kiyoha climbs the ladder to become the oiran (head courtesan) after failing to escape from the brothel. In her directorial debut, acclaimed young art photographer Mika Ninagawa brings this popular Japanese manga to the screen with lavish and vibrant period costumes and gorgeous candy-colored sets.