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The Seven Samuraii - Movie Review

Essay by   •  November 3, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,128 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,657 Views

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The film Seven Samurai is about a village of farmers who have repeatedly suffered yearly raids by a group of merciless bandits. These bandits steal from the farmers and kidnap the women. Unable to protect themselves, the farmers decide to hire a samurai to do the job for them. This changes the course of their lives in numerous ways.

Initially, not everyone in the village agrees with the idea of hiring a group of samurai to kill the bandits and protect them. They are indifferent about the situation and do not want to confront the truth that hiring the samurai is their only chance of survival. The villagers view the samurai as their enemy. They are infuriated by the way the samurais have acted towards them.

It is important to understand the time period, the Sengoku Age, in which this film is set. The Sengoku Age was an extremely bloody period of time. There was intense and rigorous fighting going on. It is "estimated that there was more fighting in Japan in terms of intensity, frequency, and duration than anywhere else in the world at this time." The class system played a vital role during this period of time as well. The Japanese society was divided into a rigid four-class system which consisted of the warrior (aka samurai), farmer, artisan, and merchant. Samurai warriors "pledged their loyalty and used their swords in service of Japanese feudal warlord also known as Daimyo." However, during the Segoku Age many of these Daimyo were killed and their castles were destroyed. This left the samurai with know one to serve. Eventually these Daimyo-less samurai became known as ronin. Ronin either followed the road of becoming bandits, such as those who raided the villages, or they sought to apply their skills to other honorable causes such as assisting innocent farmers. The entire situation left the villagers indifferent about samurais overall. It is interesting to examine how the relations ship between the samurais and the villagers develops.

At the beginning of the film there is an immense amount of tension between the samurai and the villagers. The farmers in the village are a very weak and terrified group. They lack self-confidence and belief in themselves. They trust no one. This is evident when Manzo, one of the villagers cuts his daughter, Shino's hair and forces her to behave like a man. This would ensure him that previous acts done by bandits (samurai) before would not be repeated. This exhibits his complete lack of trust in the Seven Samurai.

Kambei is the first of the seven Samurai to be recruited. He is the foundation of the group and exhibits great strength along with integrity. He is also a warrior that is tired of the warfare. Kambei successfully recruits Gorobei, the second Samurai because of his deep admiration for him. Shichiroji, the third Samurai and old comrade of Kambei is successfully recruited due to a previous established bond of loyalty, love and admiration. Heihachi, is the fourth Samurai recruited by Gorobei. The master swordsman Kyuzo is the fifth samurai recruited. He is a traditional samurai who initially rejects the offer but later changes his mind. The sixth samurai Katsushiro is a self-recruited young man who seeks experience and becomes Kambei disciple. The last of the bunch is Kikuchiyo. He is a very important character in this film. Originally a farmer whose parents were killed by samurais, he breaks "tradition" and attempts to become a samurai. He is not initially recruited where he proved himself to be worthy of samurai status.

The seven Samurai are not welcomed to the village with open arms. In fact, no one comes out to even greet them. This causes tension as the samurais are perturbed by the lack of hospitality. This demonstrates the

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