‘Seven Samurai’ misfit film

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    By ANGELA DRAKE

    “Seven Samurai,” a Japanese film directed by Akir Kurosawa, is a misfit movie.

    Most movies can be classified by specific genres: drama, comedy, action. “Seven Samurai” is an exception. This film stubbornly refuses standards of dissection. The film is not genre specific. So what is the movie about?

    There is a central plot. A poor farming village is threatened with destruction from bandits. A young farmer declares they must fight to protect their land. An older man disagrees. They go to the wise man of the village, the “Grandad.”

    The Grandad insists that they fight. He recalls when his village was burned and how a different village prevailed because they hired Samurai for the battle. They must do the same.

    The farmers search for Samurai to aid their cause. The only reward they can offer is three meals. Yet seven Samurai accept the offer and prepare the village and the farmers for the imminent attack.

    There is action. Farmers armed with spears and staves charge the horse-riding bandits. The hired Samurai gut bandits with their swords. The women, armed with farming tools, chase the bandits down.

    There is drama. The film depicts the disparity between the poverty of the farmers and the wealth of the Samurai. The farmers feel they are victims of fate, saying, “We’re born to suffer.”

    The Samurai risk their lives to defend the poor farmers. Victory will not bring them fame or fortune. They are heroic. The Samurai join in this cause because of their character.

    There is comedy. The Samurai pull pranks on each other. They grunt and squeal like cavemen when they attack. Two Samurai duel in slow motion. The farmers attack in fast forward mode in mobs. One of the Samurai laughs like a monkey. He mocks the wimpy farmers and shows them how to fight.

    There is romance. Manzo’s daughter, Shino, and one of the Samurai meet in a meadow. They meet secretly and the Samurai gives her some of his rice — the farmers only have mettle.

    “Seven Samurai” is a misfit in that it cannot be easily described. The film encompasses several genres.

    “Seven Samurai” is playing at the International Cinema in 250 SWKT until Saturday.

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