Tagged: film club, seven samurai, song
12 January 2009
Does anyone happen to know if the last song in Seven Samurai, which the farmers sing while the remaining three samurai look from distance, has had its words translated into English?
I would be quite interested to find out what they are singing, even if it may well be largely nonsensical word repetition.
13 January 2009
I can’t remember what it says on the commentary track on the DVD but it is, indeed, addressed there. If my faulty memory serves, I don’t think they were words…can anyone else confirm? (I won’t be able to review the commentary channel for at least a week due to our increased work load beginning of semester).
Coco, I went though the newest and the older Criterion release(the new has the old commentary too), and both commentaries do not mention anything as to what is being said. However, I might of skipped in the search.
To throw out a wild guess, in my strong experience with Mexican farmers, and limited with Chinese farmers, often the working chants, are nothing more then grunts, and noises. You also see this done in some military boot-camps, during long tiring marches, with the American USMC doing this most often.
14 January 2009
Jeremy, I think that’s what the commentary said. Am I wrong about it? Did I read it and not hear it? It sticks in my mind that Richard Prince says it is made up nonsense just to keep the planting momentum going. Yeeesh. Sorry I can’t cite properly. I can’t get back to the films for this week or the next.
The latest Criterion release has David Dresser, Joan Mellen, Stephen Prince, Tony Rayns and Donald Richie altogether.
I’ll scan though the commentary, one more time, but during the scene in question only Joan Mellen is talking, and she is simply reflecting on what happen throughout the movie, with some mentions of the camera movement.
Perhaps Prince says something before the parts I watched, like I said, I’ll give it another looking though.
17 January 2009
I went through the group commentary track, and nowhere was the song mentioned.
It could be that the song is just a nonsensical string of sounds. However, although I cannot say for certain in one way or another, I actually believe that this is not the case. This type of festive chants are fairly typical of Japanese culture, or so I have observed, and to the best of my knowledge there usually is some kind of lyrical content in there. And another occurrence of this type of chanting is in The Lower Depths, where the songs definitely have lyrics to them.
It is unfortunate that the Film Music of Akira Kurosawa box set’s Seven Samurai disc does not include the farmers’ chant. Neither is it discussed in the booklets that come with the box set, at least based on my cursory scan of the Seven Samurai essays.
I hope that we’ll manage to locate that comment that Coco is referring to!
8 October 2013
Hey! 4 years late but I can answer your question. A friend of mine who is in love with the movie like we all are, took a great deal of time and research and found a way and got the last song sung by the farmers interpreted. A portion(Apologies!) of the lyrics of that great song are:
‘so the crops grow again, the land shall not be taken, by god’s hand shall we live, may the lords cut down his opposers like grass.’
11 October 2013
Thanks blues4soccer! Interesting lyrics, and gives a further idea why the samurai realise that they are no longer needed. For the peasants, it seems as if their presence there had been just part of the natural cycle.
Funky user image you have there. 🙂
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