Andra 🦋’s review published on Letterboxd:
The 1962 samurai movie Harakiri, directed by Kobayashi Masaki, is considered by many to be one of the greatest movies of all time, but I honestly did not expect it would be such a revelation to me.
With a story that intertwines many genres, samurai, revenge, drama and historical, director Kobayashi pulls the viewer right in XVII century Japan, a place in which samurai are no longer needed, marked by the decline of honour and old values.
As many movies the story can be reduced to a conflict, in this case the conflict is between reason, represented by Kageyu Saito, a feudal lord, and passion, whose main representative is Hanshiro Tsugumo, an old samurai. This contrast at the core is constantly reminded to the viewer by the clever use of shot composition, which often shows the two characters facing each other and with a height difference, Kageyu Saito being in a upper position to remark the power imbalance. It’s also underlined by the use of shot and reverse.
What really stood up to me is the intricate values system that guides our hero throughout the movie, which is utterly ignored by the ones who should care about it the most and that’s made explicit in this quote “ After all, this thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a façade”