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Friday, November 25

(2012, Takashi Miike) At an Edo clan mansion, penniless ronin Ebizō Ichikawa asks for a haven to commit seppuku. But when each of his seconds calls in “sick,” Ichikawa begins his own story. Surprisingly restrained remake of the Kobayashi classic by erstwhile wild man Miike (Audition). DCP. Approx. 128 mins.


“REMARKABLE USE OF 3-D: Miike turns the format’s inherent limitations, especially the tendency toward visual murkiness, to his advantage, fully immersing us in a world suffused with moral and ethical rot. Even the cleanest spaces, such as the gleaming courtyard where the samurai unfolds his tale, seem tainted by a corruption that can never be scrubbed away—just pointed out, then covered up for future generations to ignore.”
– Time Out

“More moving than shocking, it proceeds slowly and gracefully, and the few scenes of bloodshed are emotionally intense rather than showily sensational.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“This is a slow-moving Japanese picture in the classic pictorial tradition, concerned with the telling of stories, the passage of the seasons, and the physical, social and economic architecture that defines life in a caste-bound culture. Of course we will learn about the terrible suffering of that young samurai with the bamboo sword and witness Hanshiro’s quest for harsh justice on his behalf. But director Takashi Miike and cinematographer Nobuyasu Kita use the murky, deep-focus 3-D to achieve a slightly fantastic picture-book ambiance.”
– Salon

 “[Miike] seems now to have finished evolving into a tasteful, even resonant art house master. [Hara-Kiri] may well be Miike’s best film, a patient, ominous piece of epic storytelling that conscientiously rips the scabs off the honorable samurai mythology…Miike’s movie is FILTHY WITH MOMENTS OF GRACE, from the rain that slowly turns to snowfall as bad news looms to the climactic, torrential one-against-many anti-battle.”
– Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

Film Forum