New video, folks!
Today, we have Tateshi Danpei!
Never heard of Tateshi Danpei? Well...let me tell you about it...
Directed by Japanese pulp master Masahiro Makino, Tateshi Danpei is the story of a man, and a country, at a crossroads. Swordfighting instructor Danpei works at a local theater in Tokyo, instructing the actors how to fight realistically. However, when his realistic choreography became a huge success, Danpei's obsession with the samurai tradition of swordfighting consumes his whole life, forcing him to sacrifice his health, wife, and life.
Sounds like your average Japanese melodrama, right?
What you may be surprised to find is that this film was written by none other than Akira Kurosawa!! Written the same year as when he made Rashomon, Tateshi Danpei focuses on several of Kurosawa's favorite themes: masculine identity and the legacy of the samurai and bushido traditions.
I won't lie, it isn't the greatest film ever made. It cranks up the melodrama HARD, especially near the end. But the film does benefit from strong performances, solid directing, and, of course, a script from a master filmmaker.