Movie Meitô bijomaru (1945) download free
Book Title: Meitô bijomaru|
Directors: Kenji Mizoguchi
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Release Date: 1945-02-08
Runtime: 65 min
Stars: Shôtarô Hanayagi,Kan Ishii,Eijirô Yanagi
Full movie description "Meitô bijomaru":Kiyone Sakurai, an apprentice swordmaker makes a sword for his guardian, Kozaemon Onoda. Onoda breaks the sword while defending his lord which eventually leads to his death at the hands of Naito, when Naito demands to marry his daughter Sasae. Sasae vows to avenge her father's death and pleads for Kiyone Sakurai to make a special sword for her. So Kiyone and his fellow swordmaker Kiyotsugu go to the master swordsmith Kiyohide Yamatomori to learn their craft and forge the sword.
Reviews of the Meitô bijomaruSome time ago, a friend of mine (who happens to be an Asian film nut) alerted me to the fact that I could cheaply acquire several rare and vintage Japanese films on DVD through a particular website. Given that Kenji Mizoguchi is the Asian film-maker I admire the most, I immediately typed in his name and, indeed, some half-a-dozen “lesser” Mizoguchis came up as a result of that online search. Knowing that the date of 16th May 2008 marked the 110th anniversary from the birth of the Japanese film-maker, I figured that organizing a tribute to him around that time would be a good idea. Now that the time has come, it seems slightly perverse to watch on the very day the one film from that bunch that I had acquired of which I was completely unaware – but, being a Friday i.e. the end of a typically grueling week at the office, watching a 70-minute minor movie seemed much more sensible to me than a 137-minute acknowledged masterpiece like THE LIFE OF OHARU (1952) which I postponed for this weekend.
As I said, I knew going in that this was not going to be a major film from the director; indeed, in the accompanying interview with assistant director Kaneto Shindo (who apparently worked with Mizoguchi in this capacity a few times and later became a renowned film-maker himself), he says that “a great director does not live on love (for his art) alone” which basically means that on THE FAMOUS SWORD BIJOMARU, Mizoguchi was a hired gun and that he did the assignment merely for the money. This 11-minute piece with Shindo was quite welcome for the insights on Mizoguchi’s working methods and how they evolved over the years (in view of the director’s turbulent private life). I can only echo Shindo’s displeasure with the fact that Kenji Mizoguchi is too often dismissed today as an old-fashioned director when his sparing use of the close-up and full embrace of the master shot (and, I might add, remarkably mobile camera-work) went so much against the grain of what was prevalent at the time in filmdom and, thus, by consequence made his shooting style so fresh and modern!
Anyhow, the story of THE FAMOUS SWORD BIJOMARU is simple enough: a poor blacksmith seeks to impress a lady of higher rank (played by a very young Isuzu Yamada) by making a sword for her celebrated samurai father; while the latter seems well pleased with the end product, it breaks in two upon its very first confrontation with enemy steel, causing infinite embarrassment to the warrior – including being shunned by the Emperor and put under house arrest! Approached by a devious fellow samurai – who promises to intercede on his behalf with the Emperor, as long as his daughter’s hand is given to him in marriage – the elder warrior is appalled and flatly refuses him. Impulsively, the former angrily fells the older man and flees into the night. The sword-maker is heart-broken by the sadness his incompetence had caused his beloved and summarily attempts hara-kiri but is actually stopped from carrying it out by the young girl herself who impels him to create a formidable sword with which she herself will avenge the death of her father…
There are two more important characters in the movie which are the sword-maker’s employer (an embittered old man who feels he has sold out by making swords for all and sundry instead of putting his talents to the exclusive service of the rightful Emperor) and his colleague (who actually goads his fellow sword-maker ever onwards through their various subsequent failures at producing the indestructible sword – even at the cost of his own failing health)! While the first half of the film is curiously stagey for Mizoguchi, the latter part is mostly taken by the atmospherically shot and meticulously recreated sword-making process; at a particularly low ebb for the sword-making duo (their employer having died half-way through the proceedings), the spirit of the latter and even the young girl come to their aid in forging the titular sword. Also, it is in the latter half of the film that one sees any evidence of Mizoguchi’s trademark long and tracking shots.
This is not to say that the film is ever less than enjoyable or even compelling; it is merely that, in the grand scheme of Mizoguchi’s remarkable canon, THE FAMOUS SWORD BIJOMARU is ultimately a slight work. Being aware that only a fraction of the director’s extensive output is available to view nowadays (as a result of WWII bombings, no doubt), one should be truly grateful for every opportunity one gets to see a film of his. Thankfully, there are still several titles out there on R2 DVD to look forward to…although, due to the unfortunate time constraints which will shortly be imposed on me at my new job, I chose not to acquire these at present but leave them for another future Mizoguchi marathon!
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