Tagged: film club, seven samurai
23 January 2009
In an early scene, Kambei talks with regret about the loss of his early dreams – how he thought that with his sword he would win a castle and retainers.
The thought occurred to me that this is exactly what Hidetora in Ran sought to do – but he succeeded. As we know in Ran, we have the tragedy of a man who builds up an empire by the sword – then convinces himself that he did it all to create peace – ‘they made a desert and called it peace’. His tragedy is his failure to recognise that what you create by violence can only be maintained by violence. Kambei’s feels a failure in that that he never achieved his dream – but while he is a disappointed man, he at least (at the end of Seven Samurai) has retained his dignity and nobility. He has nothing, but at least he has no illusions. By contrast, Hidetora has everything a warrior would want in his dotage – but he cannot see the truth in front of his face.
Could Ran have originated as AK imagining what would have happened if Kambei had succeeded in his dreams?
LMAO! You are hilarious. Of course it’s possible…no scrape.
I think that it is an interesting proposition Ugetsu, and something that I certainly haven’t thought of before. I would say that it is surely possible to see a thematic connection there.
Whether it was in Kurosawa’s mind I obviously cannot say, but I don’t really find that question all that important, either. What counts is that the idea itself is a thought-provoking one!
24 January 2009
Certainly an interesting connection.
Kambei appears to certainly be more concerned about his dignity and nobility, over any material gain, while Hidetora is the opposite. I can agree on that part, any further I’m not sure.
25 January 2009
I suppose what I was thinking of was:
Kambei is a great warrior – he admits to us that in his younger days he dreamed of glory and conquest. We don’t know why such a charismatic warrior failed – in AK’s world we can assume it was just the work of fate, the fall of the cards – he probably just chose the wrong side in the wrong fight, and ended up penniless and lonely, when he could so easily have been a powerful Lord.
But, as a thought experiment, suppose he did succeed? Suppose, before his failure forced him to think deeply about the type of person he is, about whether endless warfare for such tenuous notions as ‘glory’ is worth it, suppose he succeeded – he was surrounded by adoring retainers, aristocratic women, wealth and comfort, whispering sycophants. Would he have grown smug and self satisfied, grand but deluded….. just like Hidetora?
I’m suggesting that this idea would be consistent with what we know about AK – that the creative process for him was one of continuously asking questions of himself, of his characters, continuously asking ‘what happens if….?
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