Nate Natenate’s review published on Letterboxd:
"What befalls other today, may be your own fate tomorrow."
The phenomenon of samurai has been an inseparable aspect for Japanese history, especially in the periods of Sengoku and Edo. The characteristic of a samurai is often described to be a hero that honors the ethics of loyalty, boldness, patriotism, bravery, and of course, pride. From there, comes the codes of bushidō, which also bear the sacred ritual of seppuku, that's also done as the form of honorable death, at some certain points in history, like Nobunaga Oda, Azai Nagamasa, Katsuie Shibata, or maybe Yukio Mishima.
In Harakiri (the film), Kobayashi built a large dramatization of the ritual of harakiri, as the largest form of a samurai pride, through the act that will be done by the fictional figure of Hanshiro Tsuguro, a samurai with rōnin status for years. Where Kobayashi slowly exposed Tsuguro's motives through the medium of flashback, bringing us to an existential and philosophical journey, alongside his recounts of some certain points of his past life, from the demise of his daimyō's clan, his life as a family man, to the downfall, and final retribution, that was heavily influenced by the consequences of being an unemployed samurai, especially because of the aftermath of the 1600's Battle of Sekigahara and the major factor of brutal hypocrisy of Ii's clan's fake pride, that showed the demonic side inside ourselves and how bastard they are, bringing us to acknowledge Kobayashi's brilliance of the execution of every characterization.
Kobayashi's skill in visualizing the scenes, especially the recounts, was very visible in this film. Where he involved multiple elements to create the perfect atmosphere for every scenes, especially the genius and dynamic camerawork. In example, Chijiwa's harakiri that was visualized to be very thrilling with the camerawork and the music of shamisen, gave us the visualization of the absolute horror of death. Meanwhile there's also the great performance of Tatsuya Nakadai. The thing that i can give a comment is only his charismatic appearance, that made me remembered Toshirō Mifune's appearance as Sanjuro in Yojimbo. Aside from that, i can't give a comment. Too epic and astonishing.
Ok, that's all. I might watch Miike's remake of Harakiri or maybe, Kobayashi's other works. Btw, thank you for your attention! 👀